Now I'm sorry I plagiarized that great old Chuck Dickens quote two e-blasts ago ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"), on account of it fits even better here. Let me elucidate:

Best of Times Department (hereafter known as "BoTD"): My knee(s) are much better (although they still have a way to go), and I'm hopeful that the sawbones will free me from Leg Brace Purgatory on my starboard side come Tuesday and that I'll be able to return to some recognizable iteration of hobbling around like the ordinary, stooped and crotchety old person I seem to have become.

WoTD (if you can't figure the acronym out, don't ever--and I mean EVER!--pick up the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle): I haven't been able to take exercise walks through the woods with Carol or ride my best-traveling-pal bicycle on the wonderful trails near us for...lessee's gotta be going on five weeks! And I'm used to riding 12-20 miles almost every day (weather permitting)!
Suffice to say I look and feel like one of those puffy, slimy-gray slug things you used to find under the rocks you'd turn over back when you were a kid at camp looking for fishing worms. Or just to see what kind of creepy-crawly, multi-legged or not-legged-at-all critters were living underneath. But I digress. The point is that I feel fat, flat, slovenly, worthless and lazy, and it would be great to take some sort of positive action about at least one of those things...

BoTD: The pre-orders and "Option 3"* orders for the new book (have you ordered YOURS yet?) have literally poured in, and we now have three fat, semi-disheveled looking file folders crammed full of them. Many, many hundreds, in fact. Which is gratifying in the extreme. Makes the old bank balance look deceptively good, too. But you don't want to fall into the well-known CSDoaR&DWRN syndrome (Car Salesman on a Roll and Doing Well Right Now) trap of thinking that the sudden surge of good fortune is in any way permanent. Or even long-lasting. But it's hard not to ride the living shit out of that wave once you're up on the curl of it...

WoTD: And this right here is a good argument for why highly creative, emotionally immature, occasionally mercurial and moreover easily pissed-off/outraged persons like myself should not be allowed access to firearms. Because I am SO colossally furious at my printer-of-record on the hardcover First Editions of the new book. Now this is the same printer who has done all but two printings of all my previous novels, and with whom I have spent well into six digits worth of money (albeit over 20-odd years) and generally been extremely satisfied. And I have always preferred to do business with established suppliers where we have a little history and what I used to think was "a relationship." And I have never tried to go overseas to save a few bucks because, well, I prefer to Buy American whenever I can (although, to be fair, we have historically offered both domestic and overseas product options in my "other" business, so I don't want to come off too sanctimonious here).
But now, in the wake of Covid (at least I sure HOPE it's the wake), everything has pretty much gone to shit. Both here AND overseas. Don't even get me started on supply-chain issues, rampant, greed-driven inflation or all the businesses that can't seem to find and re-hire all those skilled and semi-skilled workers they dropped like a scalding-hot, just-off-the-campfire can of beans when the pandemic was raging. So my particular problems are just a wee microcosm of bad business shit that is going on virtually everywhere these days. But, like most folks, I could care less. I'm only interested in MY problems, right? To wit:
The printer-of-record's original delivery estimate (given on June 10th, BTW) was for a 38-40 day turnaround time. But then we had to get some things sorted out and the contract finalized & signed and there were some issues like they said they sent me the wrong effing dieline template for the dust jacket (their fault) and I had to re-do that, and then I had to revise the effing copyright page because I forgot to include the effing Library of Congress Control Number (my fault, but does ANYBODY actually look at that stuff?) which was duly sent in on 8/3. And now, two weeks later, I have STILL not seen an effing proof and they're telling me that the best they can do on delivery is the end of effing September. Or, in other words, AFTER our much-publicized & ballyhooed Big Three pre-release book signing events at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen and Road America. Did'ja hear that, folks? After they're OVER! DONE WITH! FLUSHED INTO THE STENCH-LADEN SEWER OF HISTORY!!l AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!
Oh, and there's nothing they can do about it. Sorry, old chap. Wish we had better news for you.
Ta-ta for now.
Almost worse yet, their customer service and communication have been, in a word, horseshit. Like it takes days for them to get back to me, and it didn't use to be like that.
There. I've vented. And, to be honest, it didn't make me feel all that much better. But life goes on, eh? Like Jill Swanson always says: "When you get lemons, y'gotta learn to make lemonade..."

BoTD: Ahh, yes. The silver lining. What all the above has done is given me time to go through the book One More Time (just a wee check-over, right?) and I frankly CANNOT BELIEVE how many little, tiny, tiddly, near-infinitesimal things I found W-R-O-N-G! You probably wouldn't even notice them, but they stood out on this run-through ("My God! How could I have not seen that before??!!!") like they were spray-painted florescent orange! Plus I found a couple words I wanted to change, get rid of (I do that occasionally...really I do), verbs I needed to change the tense of, etc. And one paragraph I re-wrote entirely on account of it needed it. Badly.
Bottom line is that the book that will ultimately go to press is a BETTER (or at least less terrible) book than the one were were originally planning to print. So that's the good news.
Other Good News Department: got an email that I've won another medal of some sort in the Automotive Heritage Foundation's yearly media/journalism awards. Not sure yet what it's for (my guess is writing, as I doubt it's the dance contest), but the bad news is that the timing is not good and I won't be able to attend the ceremony, which will be held this year at the M1 "country-club" racetrack in Detroit on the storied Detroit "Woodward Dream Cruise" weekend. Hate like hell to miss it, as it sounds like a great time, but between the knee issue, travel concerns and previous home commitments (including a Saturday open house and the Geneva Concours on the Sunday) I just can't make it. Oh,'s nice to be over-booked sometimes.

BoT/WoT Departments (combined): So where do we go from here? We're all but sold out of the initial run of Preview Editions (which include all the maddening little, "how could me and five other sets of eyes miss all that shit" typos and tech glitches) and so we will proceed as follows:
1) There will be a second, "PREVIEW II", quick-turnaround paperback edition that we WILL have in time for the pre-release signing events at Lime Rock, Watkins Glen and VSCDA Road America mentioned and touted, ad nauseum, in these e-missives. It will moreover have all the wee corrections and dent-and-scratch removal issues mentioned above (we hope) properly corrected.
2) Even with all of the above sturm, drang and crapola, we hope to have the hardback First Editions to debut at the SCCA Runoffs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sept. 30-Oct. 3. Fingers crossed.
3) General Bookstore/web (other than our own, where you can already order a Preview Edition copy or put your name on the list for the First Editions when we finally have them) launch date is still scheduled for Halloween. Looks like that may have been the ONLY thing we got right.
4) For all of you wonderful people who already have pre-orders in for the new book, and for all you even-more-wonderful people who are higly valued & adored sponsors or advertisers...what can I say except to repeat that wonderful old Bill Clinton chestnut: "I feel your pain..."
And then add, kind of behind-the-hand style: "But I've already got--and most likely spent--your money!"
Refunds will grudgingly be made available to anyone gross, crass and heartless enough to want them. But, if pressed, we will indeed cough up the dough...
5) actual shipments of the pre-ordered First Editions are now pushed back to early October. And, judging by the number we have in hand, it's gonna take several weeks to plow through the. Shipments will be made sequentially according to when the orders were received, but we might be open to bribes/inducements (translation: show us something shiny).

6) Just to remind one and all, we will still be there, grinning like idiots and ready to take ca$h and all major credit cards (on a paperback Preview II edition/pre-orders on First Editions basis on the new book plus all of our other titles, logo merchandise and the audiobook) at:

Sunday, August 22nd: In the Chicago Region SCCA display at The Geneva Concours, Geneva, IL., 10am-3pm

August 27-29: Signing in The Paddock Shop at Road America during the SRO GT Challenge weekend.

Sept. 3-6 (Labor Day weekend): On the deck at the Lime Rock Historic Festival, Lime Rock, CT.

Sept 9-12: SVRA "Speed Tour" weekend at Watkins Glen, both on the vendor row at the racetrack and on the courthouse lawn during the Friday afternoon/evening Street Festival.

Sept. 17-19: In The Paddock Shop during the ELVF at Road America and possibly at the Gather on the Green Concours as well.

Sept. 30-October 1: Hardback First Edition hopefully debuts (if not, we'll still be there with the Preview Editions) at the SCCA Runoffs at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway.



Catch the latest poop & pictures, the Jay Leno interview, Last Open Road swag & highly inappropriate attire from Finzio's Store and the lurid & occasionally embarrassing "ride with Burt" in-car racing videos on the hopefully now fully operational website at: