My Novels

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A Cautionary Tale

Many, many moons ago, in the early 1970s, I was recently married and hoping for a bright future. My husband had just received a trade school diesel mechanic certification, and I was employed in a clerical office position, but we were seeking better opportunities. We were open to adventure, travel and...well, like a lot of young people, looking for opportunities.

One day I read an ad in a Birmingham newspaper seeking those with trade skills for overseas job opportunities. It sounded promising, though when I told my husband, we were a bit hesitant since we both liked our local community. He had traveled while in the army for two years, but I had never been anywhere outside Alabama. This ad intrigued me, so I called the number, and set up an appointment in Birmingham.


When we arrived at the location, we were both impressed -- a well-known highrise in Birmingham. Marveling at the prestigious building, riding the elevator to the tenth floor, we were greeted on our entry to a plush office waiting room. Our names were taken, my husband’s trade school certification accepted, and told by a classy-looking receptionist, “You sound like just what we’re looking for!”


We waited anxiously with others who resembled us; we were all excited, especially by the ad that stated we could make a high income. Being ushered into the private office, the expansive view of Birmingham out the wide windows, a sharp-dressed man behind a massive oak desk, we were in awe of the weighty official CEO title. We were not naive exactly, just eager for opportunity, I think.


What ensued was an hour of extravagant promises and praise for my husband’s qualifications, and assurance we had come to the right place for opportunity. We could travel overseas with his job and make enough in several years to set us up for life -- or at least buy a home back in our local community. It was dizzying, intoxicating and we fell for it -- hook, line and sinker.


You see, there was just one catch: we had to pay a fee for the office to write a resume and shop it around to these overseas companies. We were told they only solicited via legitimate outfits like the one we were now employing. By then, there was a niggling little doubt, a tiny voice in the back of my mind, warning me this was...unusual. Nevertheless, we signed up and handed over the meager savings we had at that time.


By now, you’ve obviously guessed this was a scam. We were worried on the way home, but tried to stay optimistic, since we had money invested. As the resume fakery rolled into our mailbox, but no job offers followed, we were crushed. 


Here’s the thing: we were too humiliated to tell anyone what had happened. Some family knew we had visited the place, but we never told them how we’d been scammed. It’s embarrassing and hard to admit you’ve fallen for a scam. But we learned a good lesson: be careful and never, ever fall for the hard sell lie. 


Now imagine you have fallen for a scam that got you to Washington D.C. and you find yourself in the midst of an insurrection that was incited by the President and state representatives. Do you storm the capital and end up in prison? Or do you stop in the midst of the insanity and realize you’ve fallen for a scam, a lie? Not so easy. 


Many of those who fell for the hard sell lie will do prison time for the mayhem and murder that resulted, and that is justified. However, if you ever find yourself questioning conspiracy theories, wild stories (especially online) that gives you a little niggling feeling that something seems not quite right: Heed that cautionary warning.


Friday, January 01, 2021

New Year's Day 2021!

 What can I say about 2020? Like most people I'll just say, "Don't let the door hit you in the @ss on the way out! BYE!

Let's see...my life. I'm sitting here as the place seems to be falling down around me, maintenance I've put off due to the pandemic. This morning a rattan shade on my back porch was wind-whipped till it fell apart. NOT climbing a ladder to take it down, managed to just tie up ends. Add it to the growing list of stuff to be done. And still not sure I want to bother with all this...the tedious jobs of home upkeep.

Good news though: I completed a novel, "Wilding Castle." It had been in my mind for some time, and concerns Covid in present time, but also a love story, sadness too, but with a happy ending. I didn't even outline or build characters first; just started writing and it took over! I am not sure how I will market it, but leaning toward the new app publishing platforms. I like KDP, but authors have to do a lot of marketing, and I rather focus on writing instead of the PR work. But at least I accomplished something this past year!

I want to hope 2021 will be better, brighter. And I do. On the other hand, when you are in a dark place (even in fiction) it takes time to work your way toward the light. Give it time. And unless something falls in on my head, I'll probably keep putting off maintenance until I feel it is safer to get this stuff done. 

However, I am still assessing whether I want to remain here -- or buy a condo, rent or...perhaps assisted living. It would be nice to live in comfort, others doing the daily chores while I could write, and not be bothered with all the physically demanding tasks that are getting more and more difficult. 

Alas, time will tell. Or fate. Or the simulation programming (which I'm considering for my next novel idea).

Cheers!

 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The future, the past, the here & now

Sometimes I sit here in the afternoons, and a slant of the sunlight, an old song streaming...it's as if the past is the present. I've lived in this house forty years, and not a lot has changed -- some updates, etc. but still basically the same. The yard and surroundings haven't changed much either, so it's easy to slip back in time and imagine it is just another day in the 80s or 90s when I was writing fiction, thinking of what to have for dinner when my late husband would be coming home. Autumn/winter are always my sad times, the loss of him especially keen since he died in late February. Next year it will be fifteen years, yet at times, it's as if it never happened. Or perhaps this is an aging flashback, as the years accumulate. 


I have peace, if nothing else. For so many years life was hectic (especially my time at the newspaper) or with extended family ups and downs and I'd wish fervently for PEACE! And though I know some people (extroverts) would find my life b-o-r-i-n-g!, I have the time and means to pursue knowledge -- the internet can be an amazing resource IF you know how to use it for knowledge. At some point, I'm sure I'll start another story; I have a good idea, and doing some research. A Gothic ghost story, methinks.


As for the future, thank the stars, and the GOOD people, of our country we smacked that wanna-be dictator down hard. Oh, Trump won't go quietly -- but go he will, even if kicking and screaming. My deepest wish is that he goes to some dark corner of the internet, and those nutty cult followers crawl back under that big, big rock they came out of. Life can then get back to some semblance of normal. Biden can tackle the still-raging Covid pandemic, with hopefully a vaccine soon, and economic recovery -- but not at the expense of human lives!


I am still somewhat isolating, though I do go buy groceries/necessities, with masking/distancing/etc. And I have no plans with family for the upcoming holidays, though in recent years I only got together with my two sisters to dine out. Otherwise, I think I've adjusted to less association with people; of course, I've always been somewhat of a loner, and now more so than ever. I do miss library outings, and occasional shopping without feeling as if it's a danger akin to the chance of being murdered! Sigh. 


What else? I'll be 69 in early December! My main concern these days is figuring out how I want to live as I age. I'm still capable of taking care of my house, hiring maintenance (though that is getting more and more expensive), and in general living here. However, I am torn between selling this house and maybe renting a small apartment, or buying a condo. And then, if I live long enough, assisted living is definitely on my radar. I've had a stay in rehab at one point, and it was a senior facility; it was NICE having others take care of me. The past fourteen years have been tiresome due to the responsibility of ALWAYS making every decision myself, etc. Yes, I'm fiercely independent, but on the other hand, when frailty comes (as it does for all the elderly if they live long enough), I have no qualms about assisted living. In fact, I keep tabs on all the local ASL facilities, just in case I need to go or want to choose before it becomes a dire need. 


Gosh, so boring. Things old folks ponder. But hey, if YOU live long enough, you'll get here too!


Muffin is doing fine, though she needs to lose weight. I continue to feed stray cats in the neighborhood.


I also hit 1,000 miles on my air-bike a week or so ago. I had set that goal for this year, but reached it ahead of time! I usually ride at least 5 miles every morning, except on the days I have errands in town. The Marcy bike has arm resistance too, which helps me stay in shape and keep my muscles capable of lifting stuff. My weight is in the range of 107-109...and at 5'2", it's never varied much (except for the extreme diets of the past when I got down in the 90s!) I try to eat healthy, mostly vegetarian and whole grains, etc. I've come to really love almond milk too. Of course, I have arthritis; it runs in my paternal family. And the bunion still needs to be fixed, but I just keep putting it off (NOT a good time right now for elective surgery!) 


Alas, that is about all the news from my life now.  

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Pandemic Fall edition

Perhaps that's an optimistic title, but it is finally becoming a bit cooler here in the South. Not yet comfortable, but a general trend in that direction. Now if only the grass would stop growing. Alas, not yet!


Life has been dubbed, "the new normal" now...with a statewide mask mandate in our region, which has helped lower the numbers of Covid. Kudos to our state governor, a lady that had the best interest of the public, despite being a republican! I read an article that stated that women leaders had handled the pandemic better, and I would guess that is because we value LIFE over DOLLARS. Not all, mind you, but the majority. Also, it takes an iron will not to bow to political pressure, especially when the bully-in-chief of America randomly targets those who prefer to be safe rather than rich. Let's face it folks: If you are dead, you won't have to worry about your financial situation. On the other hand, if you take reasonable precautions (masking, sanitizing) and live to fight another day, you can THEN take care of financial aspects. 


At any rate, Covid is still out there -- everywhere. Lurking, just waiting to pounce on crowds, those stuffed in close quarters, unmasked, striking again and again. There is so much distrust of the current occupant at the White House, due to his outrageous lies, constant fabrications and fantasy scenarios that it is unlikely very many will get vaccinated IF a vaccine is available soon. Personally, I would NOT, especially if it comes out before the election. Far too convenient for him, and unless this can be overcome, I don't see a majority volunteering for it. In fact, in forums I often see even his devoted followers stating they won't get the vaccine; after all, deep down, they know what a fraudster he is!


My life rolls along, not that different than it has been -- with the exception that I haven't had visits with my sister from a nearby large city in ages. It still seems risky, since her husband has some lung issues and could be at higher risk. I do my weekly grocery shopping, any errands (though few) and continue onward. 


I do have some outdoor work that needs to be done: my back porch needs some carpentry work, and my privacy fence needs some repair. I just keep putting it off, hoping the Covid situation continues to improve. My fence is the immediate problem, as it is leaning -- but I have it well-braced right now. With Fall coming, the leaves will soon be flying and I'll be trying to stay ahead of the avalanche, even though I have yard care. 


I've been reading a lot, just finished Michelle Obama's book. Truly enlightening and she can write! So sad to see so much she and Obama tried to accomplish tossed on the ash-heap of everything Trump has destroyed. If he's there for 4 more years, the government will be dismantled -- though few seem to realize what is at stake! Anyway, I am catching up on a lot of bestselling fiction, since I am able to check out ebooks from the library. 


As for writing, I don't seem to have anything to say. That is the reason no updates at this blog. I do have story ideas, but can't seem to get motivated to write. For several years now, I lack the motivation; it seems a waste of time, and who knows how long any of us have, especially during a pandemic? More and more, I just coast...waiting to see what happens next...


And that is it for today.