Two Weeks Until . . .

publication of Nine-Eleven (Time Patrol). 

There are coincidences in history that, if you wrote them as a novel, would be unbelievable. But since I’m using actual history as the template for my Time Patrol books, I can use those coincidences. On 9-11-2001, the same day as the attacks in NY, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, the largest aircraft in the world set a record that still stands for cargo lift to altitude. On 9-11-9, the Roman Empire suffered its greatest defeat. More Romans might have died at Cannae, but Hannibal never followed up his victory, so in terms of history, it didn’t have much effect. The Battle of the Teutoberg Forest on the other hand stopped the Roman Empire at the Rhine River.  Then there is the Mountain Meadows Massacre, on 9-11-1857, a dark day in our history, when 120 emigrants on the California Trail were murdered in cold blood by Mormons. One event, 9-11-1776, held the potential to entirely change our country’s history; indeed to keep us from ever becoming the United States: when Benjamin Franklin and John Adams met with Admiral Howe, to British Commander to discuss the possibility of peace. This happened right after George Washington lost the Battle of Long Island.

CGApprovedFor those interested in history, in learning about events both large and small and arcane (is the house on Staten Island where the peace conference was held haunted?) the Time Patrol books cover it all.

 Cool Gus approves this message!


“I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.” Life & Story-telling

indexSomething I tell my wife is: “It’s going to turn out how we least expect.”

Because that’s life. And that is also a key part of story-telling.

There once was a very poor man who lived in a kingdom. All he had was his son and six beautiful horses. One day the king rode by and saw the horses. The king offered to buy the horses for a very large sum of money. The man refused. His neighbors told him he was crazy not to take the money because the king’s offer was a very good thing. He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”

Two days after the king made his offer and the poor man turned him down, the horses broke out and disappeared. His neighbors looked at the poor man and said now he should feel very bad because he not only didn’t get the king’s money, but he also no longer had his horses. He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”

A few days later, the six horses came back with six more wild horses, just as beautiful. The poor man’s neighbors said: “What a good thing you didn’t sell them to the king. Now you have twelve horses.” He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”

While trying to break in the six new horses, the man’s son was thrown and shattered his leg, crippling him for life. The man’s neighbors said. “What a bad thing those six new horses are. Now your son is crippled for life.” He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”

A year later, the kingdom went to war with a neighboring kingdom, a war everyone knew they were destined to lose. When the levy came for young men to go fight, the poor man’s son wasn’t taken to go because of his crippled leg. The man’s neighbors said: “What a good thing that your son is crippled so he doesn’t have to go and die in this foolish war like our own sons.” He replied: “I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.”

Techno Thursday: Is social media really social?

I have always been an early adapter of technology, but not always an early adapter of social media and I’m not talking blogging or websites or various forms of communication and advertising. I think the internet is a vast and wonderful place to find out all sorts of valuable information. Without the internet, my job would not exist. I also love that things like Google Hangouts and Facetime now allow my husband to travel a lot less, since he’s having virtual meetings. eMail writing makes it easier AND faster to communicate with friends. I’ve even become fond of some of the services that will send out invitations and birthday cards.

Much of social media is used to promote a product, business, or brand. It is also used to keep up with family and friends. I love that while my daughter is in the Peace Corps living in Madagascar, she can still, when in a town with internet, post pictures and communicate with all of us back home. I believe she has a stronger relationships with family  members because of these types of social sites. And really, thank God for Facetime! Both audio and video. Its nice to be able to actually talk with her each week. Twenty years ago, we would have been waiting MONTHS for just one letter.

Social media is good for so many things, but I don’t find it to be social. I want social interaction, I’ll go see a friend. Pick up the phone. Talk to my pet rock. In an effort to engage and network, we develop on-line relationships, and yes, some, actually, many, can and will develop into real, face to face social interactions. But lets face it, no one has 5k friends on Facebook that are real, honest friends. Yeah, sure, with Authors, there is the fan thing. Another good reason fro social media. A connection to a favorite author. TV star. Dog (as in Cool Gus).

Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. We’ve become all consumed by social media. Watching the news the other night, listening to the Anchor say, “he tweeted an apology” just made me cringe. Sure, Social Media is often live, happening right then. I personally prefer to get alerts on my phone about news and other important topics than sit in front of my computer looking at trending topics. But so many of us have Social Media dialed as high as it can go, barely taking a break from it. Its always on. Always calling you, telling you that you’re engaging with people, making new friends, networking.

Perhaps, a little. Perhaps enough to say we need to be on social media.

But not so much we need to join a support group for people addicted to Social Media.

There are many studies now that show the negative affects of social media on our mental health and on our productivity. We need to learn to turn it off sometimes.

Another area of concern for me with Social Media is that often times people say things they wouldn’t normally say. Social Media has become a place to rant about this or that, and don’t you dare disagree with me, only lovers welcome. Haters beware. Social Media has made the divide in topics even greater and the anger even stronger. And none of that is being social.

And I do think there is some truth to Einstein’s quote.

Einstin Technology

So, in a nutshell. Technology and social media are a good thing, but they come at a cost. A personal cost we can control.

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