Message in a Blog Bottle

        I sit here at the Deep River Blues Coffee Cafe and I’m in awe.  When I was growing up here we only had the Billiard and Bowl until Hardees came in, and pizza was an exotic international food.  I can’t believe Harvey county has come far enough to have our version of Starbucks. They got all kinda coffee in this place, and I can’t pronounce the names of any of ’em.  Usually I just get the house black but every so often I’ll order a new fangled one.  “How ’bout one of those high-test hoop-tee-do cold caramel ones with the crushed up ice?”  I asked.

         “Tough day, Doc?”  The kid at the counter is a blonde haired girl, but she acts about like a bartender.  “You mean the frappacino?”

        “Uh yeah. That’s fine. Make it a double shot of that espresso jazz and put some whipped cream on it.”

        “Yes sir.  Coming right up.”

        I slumped into the corner easy chair and tapped into the Wi-Fi.  When I was a kid Hi-Fi was fancy.  We’ve come a long way.

        I e-mailed a friend in Australia.  I’m about like Jimmy Stewart.  I love the old hometown, but there was also a part of me that wanted to fling responsibility to the wind and see the world.  In a way the Internet has allowed me that without leaving home, but has also whetted my appetite. 

        But as my daughter always said, “Daddy, there’s not a frivolous bone in your body.”  I never would have gone without  a reason for the trip.  That reason is the reader, and we want to meet all these new people I have met in my writer journey.  My book is my travel ticket.

        Not that I want to give up my day job.  I still love it and the interaction with the patients.  But as the book draws nigh, I’m also gonna have to see the world before I get too old to  go.  Then I’ll come back home, check into Harvey Nursing Home without complaint, play bingo every Monday and teach mandolin lessons to anyone who’ll visit, ’cause I got to do it all.

          When I started my blog it was like a message in a bottle.  I tossed it out from our little desert island here, watched it bob away and drift off into the distance, and waited to see if anyone would respond.  One day someone far across the ocean found it on an isolated beach where it had washed ashore.  They popped the cork and fished out the message.  

        “My wife and I love home but we also want to see the world.  We love bluegrass music, writing, and art.  We only want to go where we already know folks of like mind.  To tell you the truth, Harvey County is a small place.  We’re a little scared of strangers.  When I finish my book can we come visit a bookstore near you?”

         The answer was yes, and to a degree I never dreamed of.  I have already learned a bunch from you guys and look forward to plotting my course over the next few years to get everywhere I want to go.

        All that is gonna take a lot of time.  As the publishers look at ‘The Mandolin Case’ some have already inquired about an outline for a sequel.  (Thank goodness I have one)  I work steady as a Doc every day and it is hard to fit it all in.

           I hope you guys will bear with me.  Today I want to tell you of a slight change in my publication schedule.  In some ways it will be more; in some ways it is less.  I plan to post a brief  ‘Thought of the Day.’ (at least most days)  Often it might dove-tail with my ‘Song of the Day’ on FaceBook.

         Instead of three long posts a week I’ll do one long one on Mondays.  I’m gonna call the ‘Monday Morning Post.’

        I hope this change will allow me to commit to the support of ‘The Mandolin Case’ I will have to give it, and also the time to write the sequel I have started.

        At the same time, I admit I fear the thought of the loss of even one reader.  I have come to enjoy your regular input.  Like a doc without patients a writer with no readers might as well call it a day.  I have learned much from you and hope you will all continue the journey with me even though my format will have to change a bit to get it all done.

        So I send another message in a bottle from Harvey County and float it out to you again.  I hope you’ll stick with me.  The total time I give to the blog might be cut in half, but I hope the books will make it up to you.  Hey, at this point y’all about gotta read them ’cause some of you made it in the story by virtue of your visits to Harvey County.

        As Tim O’Brien would say I won’t say so long ’cause I ain’t going anywhere. (or something like that)  So I’ll be in touch and see ya soon. 

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: Acquisition Syndrome, Book Characters, Mandolin Case, Publication Schedule, The tour, Writing


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10 Comments on “Message in a Blog Bottle”

  1. Martin Waddell Says:

    Makes total sense to rationalise your posts. You certainly won’t lose this particular reader if you only do Mondays. And when you get round to travelling the world, we’ll all be delighted to give you a real Scottish welcome. Only thing is, you’ll have to bring your mandolin and teach us Scots about bluegrass. I’ve an American friend – Presbyterian minister in Montana – who comes to Scotland every so often, and he always brings his bagpipes to play to us! (Jolly good piper he is too; could give several Scottish pipers a lesson or two.)

    • drtombibey Says:


      Bless your heart.

      I once read of a famous picker (I think it was Skaggs) who did a tour in Europe. He said his favorite part was not the big stage, but when he’d take his mandolin into some obscure pub and play with the local musicians. That is the real music to me.

      That’s the tour I dream of and I hope folks like you will help me find those places.

      Dr. B

  2. Karen Collum Says:

    Dr. B., I have been amazed you’ve been able to keep up your frantic pace for this long! Good for you for prioritizing. I have you on my RSS Feed so I don’t even have to think what day it is – I just click on my Favourite Feeds link and see who in the blogosphere has updated. You can be sure I’ll pop over and have a read whenever I get a chance. I’ve been too busy to do a lot of reading of blogs lately, let alone writing. My three little munchkins have a wonderful habit of eating up the minutes in my day 🙂

    • drtombibey Says:


      I am enjoying it all but the rate limiting step for me is I am such a bad typist.

      I took typing as a kid, but kept sneaking out of class to go play music. If my mom had known she’d a killed me. At that time I didn’t know I was gonna write a book someday. As it turns out mama knew best.

      Dr. B

  3. newt221 Says:

    Dr. B,

    A thought of the day is still a post. As, I have had to go back to work and became more busy, I some times find it hard to post. Although, I am not a “famous” person like you (wink, wink).

    I feel honored to have the chance to read words or wisdom from you…. I am one of your fans…You won’t lose me.

    And, I appreciate you reading my blog too. My family is urging me to maybe try and put my “stuff” in a book too.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Lordy I am hardly famous kid. Matter of fact I have said before I am world famous all throughout Harvey County.

      The one up side to short posts is all of us can stay in touch without quite as big an investment of time as three or four short stories a week, either on the writing or reading end of it.

      I think your family is right. You paint clear pictures with your writing and need to stay with it.

      Dr. B

  4. Smitty Neuse River Pres. Says:

    Getting close to publication. Wow, what a ride! Bread Loaf to book. We understand about slowing down the blog. The blog, the best I can remember was recommended by your agent to improve your writing skills. Stay in touch, we finished off the song list for downtown Chistmas Celebration in early December. If you get his way, we might try to play at the signing. I know this will be a first. Take care. Tell Marfar,Cindy is starting sewing classes.

    • drtombibey Says:


      Tell Ms. Turner I made it thru the deep revision she talked about. Both my agent and my editor find it flows well, is artistic, and is close to camera ready. It still needs to go through a copy editor for typos but it is close.

      I have no idea how many it will sell, but that was never the point. I am certain I got to say what I wanted to, so will see if it gets picked up. My agent is confident.

      You are right. He wanted me to start it to work on my writing. I didn’t relaize how many friends I was gonna make.

      Marfar is a pro at the sewing thing and having fun. We look forward to out next visit to Mississippi, and hope it will be soon.

      Dr. B

  5. Smitty Pres. of Neuse River Fan Club Mississippi Says:

    Dearest Doctor,
    I am thrilled to hear of the progress. I know you will be selling some books here in Saltillo. This has been a busy semester and I am always behind now because we have added yet another class to the load we had. It’s getting more like a factory than a creative learning environment!
    All best,

    • drtombibey Says:


      Thanks so much. When you said it was time for a deep revision my first thought was “What’s that?” Soon after that was when my agent said it was time for an editor. She showed me how.

      Part of my gig will be to stop at schools and tell kids it is never too late to start to listen to the teacher.

      Dr. B

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