Today, I was in a post office, mailing off two paperback short stories to people who’d recently subscribed to my newsletter, Secret Briefings.
(If you’re interested, click here and subscribe, and you can pick from four different short stories: “Best Served Cold,” “Blood Cover,” “Brave New World,” and “Spymaster.”)
One was to someone not far from me, and the other was to a fan in Africa. I’ve known this person on line since I used to participate in a Friday flash fiction exercise called Friday Fictioneers. She always commented on my 100-word stories, and I appreciated her comments and suggestions.
Indeed, she is one of my most frequent commenters on this blog. She’d indicated to me she wanted to buy my novel, A War of Deception, but where she lives there is no Amazon. However, she gleefully told me of her workaround: She had her sister buy it on Amazon.uk and ship it to her!
That touched me deeply, that someone would want my book enough to go through hoops to get it. So, I was excited to see she subscribed to my newsletter and picked a short story to receive.
However, sending a small package overseas to Africa wasn’t as easy as sending the one to someone down the road. First, you have to fill out a customs form and bring that with you to the post office. Silly me, I thought the region, city, and country information would be sufficient, but the small town postal clerk couldn’t find the country on her list and informed me she’d never heard of “Guana.”
“That’s because it’s Ghana,” I said.
Mind you, I printed the country name on the package. “No. G-h-a-n-a,” I said.
“Still never heard of it.”
“Not to worry. There are millions of people in the world who’ve never heard of Virginia.”
Well, that didn’t go over too well, but the clerk finally found Ghana on her list of countries, applied all the labels, inked the various stamps on the envelope, and entered all the details into her computer, not simply one-handed, but one-fingered.
The short story is winging its way across an ocean and a couple of continents, and I hope my first fan–I trust she doesn’t mind being called that–enjoys “Best Served Cold.”
Little things like this make it all worth it.
Thank you, Celestine.