It was very exciting this morning to see that my debut ebook, "Outback Love," is now available at BarnesandNoble.com. This is one more milestone for a new indie author. "Outback Love" should soon be available online at Kobo, Sony, Apple and Diesel. Now all I need is some more readers.
For those who don't already know, "Outback Love" was inspired by a three week, 5000 mile road-trip, my husband Ben and I took through the Australian Outback a few years ago. It was a grand adventure that we began in the end of June, which was the beginning of winter in Australia.
We arrived in Melbourne, New South Wales, Australia in the middle of the night following a 13 1/2 hour flight from Los Angeles, California. We were tired, exhausted, ready to get some sleep, because I'm never able to sleep on a plane. Unfortunately, our new luggage was damaged in flight due to a hydraulic fuel leak on the plane. So here we were in the middle of the night with an oily mess of luggage. When we unzipped the luggage, much to our horror, at least half of our clothes were covered in that same oily mess.
It took close to an hour to convince the airline that they were responsible for the damage. Finally they handed us a bunch of red, white and blue striped, zippered bags and told us to put whatever we wanted to keep in those bags. Then they took our two duffel-style roller suitcases and gave us a receipt. We were told to come back at 9:00 the next morning to receive a check for $200 in damages.
I then called the hotel I had booked to ask for the free transportation that was part of our hotel stay. Only the desk clerk who answered said they didn't do airport pick-ups after midnight. Huh? No one mentioned that when the hotel was booked. Well, the next step was to get a cab. Only it turned out the cabbies wouldn't accept American dollars and the money exchange booth at the airport was long since closed for the night.
At this point I was about ready to sit down and cry. I had done all the bookings for this trip and it was all starting out bad. Then a Good Samaritan stepped forward in the form of a friendly, middle-aged, Australian business man. This kind man said he'd listened to our whole ordeal over the luggage, no transportation from the hotel to pick us up and now no Australian money to get a cab. He handed me a twenty in Australian dollars and assured me that would be enough for the cab ride to the hotel. I tried to offer him American dollars in exchange and he declined. He said that sometime down the line I was to help out another stranded tourist in return. Definitely a "pay it forward" kind of agreement.
Totally exhausted, we finally made it to the hotel. By this time we were well into the wee hours of the morning. After a quick shower we fell asleep in very hard twin beds. No, I hadn't requested twin beds, but the desk clerk said all the doubles were already taken. I managed to fall asleep in spite of the hard mattress.
My husband's older sister, Barb, and her husband, Dick, were traveling with us. They'd managed to sleep on the plane so hadn't been as tired. Their luggage and clothes were not damaged by hydraulic fluid. Though their hotel room also had hard twin beds.
In the morning I was counting our blessings. Only half of our clothes were oily. So the oily clothes were in separate striped bags from the good clothes. We'd traveled pretty light, so we didn't have much of a wearable wardrobe. We got some weak coffee for breakfast, but that was better than nothing, but no food was available. I swear that when I booked with that hotel they'd advertised a free continental breakfast.
To make a long story short, we exchanged some money at the front desk so we could all take a cab to the airport. Then, after a little haggling, we finally got our check for $200 U.S. Then another cab ride to the rental place where we were supposed to pick up our rental conversion van to start our trip through Australia. My husband, who was going to do all the driving, noticed immediately that the van's four tires plus the spare were all bald. We weren't about to venture into the Outback in a vehicle with bald tires. So after more haggling the rental people agreed to put new tires on the van. Only we had to wait in their lobby for several hours while that was done.
It was mid afternoon before we were ready to start out. I was very apprehensive by that time. I'd planned our trip day by day, having figured out how many miles we could travel each day and had booked all the hotels in advance. We had our doubts about making it to that night's destination. Because of the long delay waiting for the tires we didn't get to visit the sights I'd planned for us to see in Melbourne. We had to head out immediately and didn't even have time to search for a market where we could stock up with some food and other supplies.
I think at this point Ben, Barb and Dick were not that happy with me. With the trip starting out this way, what would happen next? I had my fingers crossed and I was praying that the rest of the trip would go smoothly.
Please continue to check back to read the rest of "The Story Behind the Story" of "Outback Love."