I’m fortunate to belong to an amazing closed book club on Facebook where I get to interact with authors and readers. During one of our almost daily author take-overs, I was privileged to meet Darynda Jones, USA Today & NY Times best selling author. I loved the interaction and managed to win one of her books, First Grave on the Right, the first in the Charley Davidson series. I devoured the first book and was pleased to find the “one click” option at the end so I could easily buy the second. I just finished book two and can’t wait to start the next, although I’m going to have to slow down – There are only so many and I’m going to be disappointed when the series ends!
Charley Davidson is a PI in real life and a grim reaper on the side. Or maybe she’s really a grim reaper and just does the PI thing with her physical body. Regardless, she’s sassy and full of spunk, which is probably the only way she remains sane. When the dead have died under suspicious circumstances, they often come to her (attracted by her sparkly nature) and seek assistance. Enter her father (retired detective) and her uncle (current detective). She assists in a way only she can, by relaying messages from beyond the grave to the police, in order to solve what would certainly be otherwise unsolvable cases.
In book one, we start with three dead attorneys and mix in a back story from her PI career about a domestic abuse victim going into hiding. As if that’s not enough to keep her busy, there is this being haunting her dreams, although the romance between them is not exactly what I would call haunting. Just as she’s discovering all his really is (and where he’s been physically), book two ends. Again, thank goodness for one-click shopping!
Book two picked right back up, less than a week later, starting with her partner in crime (ok, so her assistant, Cookie) waking her at an ungodly hour to help with her friend’s disappearance. As they dig deeper, this missing person has a lot of high school friends dropping dead for all kinds of reasons. And of course there are the mafia-like folks dropping in uninvited, also searching for the same missing person (and maybe killing a few others). And as if one missing person isn’t enough, her mysterious visiting being continues to “haunt” (and by haunt, I mean seduce) her. He has his own personal issues and she’s hell bent on helping him, even if he doesn’t want it.
I’m ready to start book three, slowly of course, since there are only seven published books with the promise of an eighth coming this October, a promise Darynda better live up to. If you like mysteries, humorous characters spewing sarcasm, uncomfortable situations (I mean, it’s never a convenient time to talk to the dead) and a dash of other-wordly romance, this series is for you. Links below –
Find her author’s page here – http://www.daryndajones.com/ and her FB page here – https://www.facebook.com/darynda?fref=ts
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t get out much. I don’t travel. I enjoy the comfort of my own daily routines in very familiar places. As an adult, I’ve been to a “big city” up north a time or two. Those trips were many years ago and there are reasons I don’t go back. I remember two distinct trips up north and the feelings I experienced as a result. And yes, I know, being from Florida, “up north” technically refers to many states. I’m specifically referring to New York.
One trip, James and I visited his parents in New Jersey. You know, the “garden state”, where I have yet to actually see a garden. Regardless, we (James, his parents and I) drove from his parents’ place to a train station. That was about the most normal experience of the day. So we board this train and start our journey for the Museum of Natural History. Yep, the place right out of the movie, “Night at the Museum“. Never having been there, and with thoughts of a live T-rex in my mind, I couldn’t wait to get there. I had no idea, soon, I really couldn’t wait to get there, for a whole nother reason!
We’re riding the train when I notice we kinda end up going into the ground. Now in Florida, you don’t actually go underground unless you’re dead. So that was a little unsettling, but I’m going along peacefully with this whole big city experience. Then James’ mother turns to me and announces, “we’re under water”. She’s actually excited about this! Me, not so much, but I smile, thinking to myself “dear God, please get me through this alive”.
We stop and go, stop and go, all the while underground, which just isn’t natural and I can’t help but think regular exposure to underground existence cannot be good for one’s sanity. I honestly don’t remember if we changed trains or not, but finally, we arrive at a platform beaming the words “Museum of Natural History”. I was so relieved, temporarily. You see, we get off the train and literally walk into the museum. Like, please pay here, no weapons (which I was carrying – this IS New York) and right into the museum, oh look, there’s a display. At which point, I turn to James and ask, “could we please just go outside, actually see the sun, and walk back into the building through, I don’t know, a door, like normal?”
Now, that trip, although eye opening, paled in comparison to my experience on a bicycle in New York. Yeah, like surviving the roads and subways weren’t enough fun, we added cycling to the experience. James, his father (Pete) and I were outfitted each with our own bicycle. We once again loaded the car and drove to a train station. I was a little more prepared this time and tried not to think about the water part. We rode and rode and finally hopped off the subway, bicycles et al, into a mass of people, still underground.
I was relieved when we made our way to the escalator to head above ground. Only this was no ordinary escalator – it was the epitome of “Stairway to Heaven”. It seemed to go up forever, leading to a small circle of light at the top. I was impressed – we were really, really far underground! So we start heading up, toward the light, finally stepping off the escalator and onto a gaping sidewalk (if that’s what they call it up there), looking at a mass of traffic and buildings. There were vehicles everywhere and where there weren’t vehicles, there were monstrous buildings so huge, they practically blocked the sky. We walked toward the area where the buildings and cars all seemed to converge together in one big mass of noisy, organized chaos, myself dragging my jaw behind me. We were on “the island”, Manhattan, I believe.
While in my own mesmerized stupor, I hear a “come on” and look just in time to watch James and Pete mount their bikes and make their way into the traffic. And I stood there. My mind wanted to ride a bike, but my body remained steadfast, screaming silently in fear. I saw them pedal and mix into the traffic and then they were gone. My bottom lip quivered a little and a tear made its way down my face while I stood there, alone and suddenly very aware of my most insignificant existence.
It seemed like forever, but someone finally jerked me out of my daze. I looked up and was never so happy to see James. He rescued me and we walked our bikes to a path that encircled the island, traffic-free. We had an amazing ride filled with beautiful sights and sounds.
I really am a simple Florida girl. While I appreciate “up north”, I’ll keep my routines right here above ground, where they belong. I posted on FaceBook earlier this week a picture about nature to which someone replied with their preference for square buildings. I guess we each have our own comforts in life. For me, I’ll keep my butterflies and flowers.
First, I’d like to thank Elle Klass for inviting me to participate in the “Meet My Main Character Blog Tour”. To check out her blog, see the link below.
1. What is the name of my novel?
Melancholy Jack is the first novel in a new vigilante series scheduled for publication beginning of September, 2014.
2. What is the name of my main character? Is he fictional or historic?
My fictional character’s birth name is Jonathon Daniel Arden, but he goes by Jack. His alcoholic father thought it would be amusing to have a son named Jack Daniel, but his mother, naturally, would have nothing to do with that. Jonathon was a compromise, but as soon as he was born, his father called him Jack and, well, it stuck.
3. When & Where is the story set?
Melancholy Jack takes place in a beautiful, quaint town in San Mateo, California called Woodside in present time. I chose this setting because Jack is an actor, specializing in theater (he LOVES Shakespeare), but also starring in television series work. This area suited his acting career and I thought his wife, Allie, would like the area.
4. What should you know about him?
You should know that Jack is, by nature, a really good guy with the best of intentions. He grew up with some difficulties, but worked through them pretty well. He does have a strong sense of right and wrong – his world is very black/white & there are no grey areas. He met the love of his life early, Allie, and they married, choosing not to have children. Overall, Jack is quite content with his life.
5. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?
Allie is killed in a car accident and Jack struggles with losing her. She really was his rock and helped ground him. As he’s learning to live without her, he seeks closure, mistakenly, from the man who is responsible for her death. When he doesn’t get the closure he needs, he takes it the only way he knows how.
6. What is his personal goal?
Jack’s goal is to set right what he believes is wrong. In doing so, he discovers and turns loose something unique about himself and looks to explore this side of him further. You’ll read more about this in the future novels.
7. Where can you find my novel?
Melancholy Jack is not yet published, however is on schedule to be released early September 2014. It will be available via Nook, Kindle and hard copy. A teaser (giving you a little insight into his life) will be available Monday, July 7th. Meet Jack is a short story from the perspectives of those who know him best. This will be available here, at DianeBixler.com and through other venues. Check back here for more details.
If you’re on Twitter, you can actually follow Jack! I do have to warn you – he’s a little twisted, but in a good way. Check him out at Jack_D_Arden. For updates (including a cover reveal and more info about Meet Jack), follow me on FaceBook (Diane Bixler).
If you’d like to meet other main characters along this book tour, check out the following blogs:
http://thetroubledoyster.blogspot.com/ – The blog for Elle Klass, author of As Snow Falls.
May 1st marked 10 years I’ve owned my cat, Kirsipuu, and I still learn new things about him. Last year, I realized the tiny white patch on his rear toe was actually some kind of growth, not just a tuft of white fur. Recently, per a vet’s recommendation, I agreed to start him on wet food. This has been a fun venture and I’ve learned not one, but two new fascinating facts about my ten year old.
Kirsipuu is a free feeder (at least I think that’s the proper term for it). I keep a bowl of dried food on the kitchen floor for him and he eats when he’s hungry. I don’t manage his food intake, yet he stays at a very consistent and healthy weight. The vet suggested I start him on wet food (to increase his water intake). So I buy a few cans (only the good stuff – all organic) and decide Monday is the start day. Usually when I get home from work, he’s quite happy to see me and I pet him while he eats. I know, he’s spoiled, but it’s our little moment together each afternoon. So Monday afternoon, I get out the can and make a small production about opening it. He’s ALL over it! He can’t wait for me to put the can on the ground and he’s all in it. Except, it seems he can’t (or doesn’t know how) to eat wet food. He just licks it.
None the less, he actually likes it. So Tuesday afternoon, I pull the covered can from the fridge and again, he can’t wait to get at it. And again, he’s just kinda licking it. Day three, I fluff the food with a fork. This seemed to help and so, day four, I fluffed it and put it on a plate. Finally, day four, we see success. He’s actually eating wet food! And he’s loving it!
I’m pleased with his progress, as I was a little concerned when he seemed not to know how to actually eat wet food. I was beginning to think somehow, over the last 10 years, I had failed as a cat owner. We follow this procedure during the week and we’re actually now on week three. He loves his new treat and greets me every afternoon, ready for more. Then it happened – today, he actually meowed. That’s right – a first in 10 years.
You see, when we adopted him, he never made a noise. We owned him… 3 maybe 4 years until, one late night (you know, like 1-2 in the morning, while we’re sleeping) he barks from the living room. James & I both nearly jumped out of bed. We had never heard a peep out of him until that moment. And from then on, he’s not shut up. He’s actually now quite vocal. But he doesn’t really meow. We actually joke we have a barking cat because that’s what it sounds like – a bark. Until today. Today, while he was figure-eighting my legs and I was fluffing his food, he meowed.
Ten years I’ve owned this crazy cat. But he can now eat wet food and he can meow. I’m a proud momma. And I can’t wait to see what surprises the next 10 years bring.
“What are they going to do, break into my home & take my cat?”
That was my response when having to deal with the City of Palm Coast about licensing Kirsipuu. In 2010, they branched a department out of their code enforcement called “animal control” with the intent of only controlling pet animals. This department has nothing to do with any other form of live or dead animals. If there is a rabid raccoon in my yard beating down my back door to get in, they won’t touch it. But they have a very vested interest in my 100% indoor cat and saving the good citizens of Palm Coast from his wrath.
We adopted Kirsipuu in May of 2005 as a young male cat. We had him neutered and kept him up on his required shots. He is allowed on the screened in back porch, but he’s not allowed outside. Our property backs to 14 acres of conservation and I’m not comfortable with the thought of him going up against the flocks of turkey or the herds of deer, not to mention the stray (or outdoor) cats, the many coons, or the bobcat that frequents our backyard.
Several years ago, I received a letter from the City of Palm Coast informing me that I needed to license my cat, Kirsipuu and keep him up on his shots. I was floored that the City would even know that I had a cat, let alone know it’s name. I called the vet’s office and they informed me state law requires them to provide this information to the City or County upon their request. So I dutifully mailed my $5 check along with their form. Instead of providing them with his current vaccination information (per their request), I wrote “you obviously have access to my cat’s medical records, get it yourself”, asserting my passive aggressive method for dealing with something I regard as complete bullshit to begin with.
They cashed my check and I didn’t hear from them until the same request arrived the following year. I waited until my second notice before I sent the check with the same statement about getting his medical info themselves. Then in November of 2013, I got their notice yet again. Instead of the usual run around, I sent the check, not even waiting for a second notice. So I was surprised when I got a second notice come late January. I went to the bank and learned my original check was never cashed. Hmmm… must have been lost in the mail. I wrote a check and it sat on the counter until mid-April, when I came home to a yellow notice taped to my garage door. Now they had my attention.
The notice explained I was being fined for not licensing my cat and for not having him vaccinated. I was to appear for a hearing on June 3rd. Completely agitated, I pulled up the City of Palm Coast’s code enforcement and found the laws governing the division of Animal Control. Twenty-something pages later, I had learned that the City has the authority to come to my house and take my cat. Are you freaking kidding me? I mailed my fine and called their office to find out where I should report for my hearing. I was told that if I paid the fine and vaccinated the cat, I didn’t have to report for the hearing. Good news there. They don’t want to hear what I have to say anyway.
Kirsipuu is vaccinated and I’ve attempted (for the third time) to secure his license from the City of Palm Coast. I was supposed to get a call back today. That didn’t happen. Maybe tomorrow.
I am usually pretty silent on my opinions of government. But even today, while talking to a man who owns 80 tortoises, the topic of pet ownership came up. I shared my story, he shared his and we had a good laugh. And I was invited to come over & check out the tortoises, which I’m incredibly thrilled about. I’m hoping there will be a blog about that experience by next week. Squirrel. Sorry, back to Kirsipuu. He’s over his traumatizing event, I’m over my rant and we’re moving on. Until next rabies season…
Before you read on, this post must announce an important disclaimer – Men, turn back now. You don’t want to read this. Ladies, please continue and enjoy.
There are certain women in this world who are not meant to wear bras and I am one of them. I’ve openly admitted this on many occasions to a close circle of females and to my significant other. However I recently learned that there may actually be a legitimate, genetic disposition (emotional or physical or both, I’m not sure) to my claim.
Like most women, I have always maintained a dislike for the brassier, except that my dislike is really more of a form of non-violent hatred. Of the many things I look forward to as part of my morning routine, donning a bra is not one of them. In fact, I have yet to meet a woman who, upon waking each morning, looks forward to slinging on her boulder holder. Based on recent FB posts (and their comments & likes), I would even go so far as to claim that removal of the bra when a female gets home is actually one of our favorite moments of the entire day. I know for me, it’s a moment of release – not just in the physical sense, but mentally as well. It not only signifies the end of my day but means any additional stressors life may attempt to throw my way can be handled from the couch with a glass of wine. It also means a 50/50 chance of me putting on another one to leave the house again, should some desperate situation arise.
A recent conversation with my grandmother revealed what I believe is the genetic predisposition to my complete disdain (physical & mental) for the brassier. It seems my great-grandmother never wore a bra a day in her life. I won’t go into details as to how this fact came up in conversation, but the moment I learned this historical fact, I felt relief. I mean I know I’m not alone in the fact that I don’t enjoy wearing one, but my hate-filled feelings toward the tittie-toter go well beyond what even most women would consider normal. It seems there is something behind my physical and emotional genetics explaining my hatred of the bra. Maybe I have inherited a physique making the typical brassier, meaning every one of them ever made, insanely uncomfortable and nearly intolerable throughout my daily life. Maybe it’s an emotional charge deep seated throughout the history of my family that generates and maintains my feelings.
I’m jealous of my great grandmother. I wish I could admit to never wearing a bra a day in my life. But our modern culture requires such etiquette and so I somehow go on, day after day, my rack-pack in place, as expected. A part of me maintains a glimmer of hope that, someday before I leave this world, I’ll find a perfect match. The majority of me holds fast that it’s not meant to happen and that my own great grandmother is proof.
Blogging has been a new venture for me and I have to say, I’ve both loved and hated it. I love it because it’s a form of writing and I can express myself in more detail than say through a FaceBook post or a Tweet. But I hate it because of the obligation. I feel as though once I started, I had to maintain a routine of writing a blog. For me, it seemed weekly was a good frequency. And so, since January, when I started blogging, each week, I have posted. (Wow, can you have that many commas in one sentence???) Until now.
Here I am, finally at the first week where I have nothing to talk about. I knew it would happen… One day. Nothing exciting, no musings about normal everyday stuff that I’d like to share, nothing. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing creatively the last two weeks, adding about 10,000 words to Jack’s story. But here I sit today with nothing to blog about.
I could rant about a post I saw on LinkedIn this morning. Someone suggested I should feel a certain way. Actually, it wasn’t a suggestion, it was like “you’re just not right if you don’t feel this way”. And well, as many of you know, don’t tell me what to do or how to feel. I could write about today’s work experiences, meeting with three totally different families and their results, some gratifying and some frustrating. But work is boring and most of what I want to say I just can’t. Confidentiality and all… I could share my thoughts on the lady I saw driving this afternoon while smoking a cigarette and texting on her phone. What a multi-tasker! I wish I was so talented. Or maybe I could send smiles your way with how my cat is desperately attempting to get my attention while I type this. I’ve just been pounced.
But alas, none of these are worthy of any more time than what I’ve already donated to them in the above blurb. I will share that I’m quite certain I will have LOTS to write about next week. Wednesday through Sunday, I’ll be participating in a crowd-funding event called One Spark in Jacksonville, FL. It’s an amazing experience with over 600 creators bringing unique and fun ideas, hoping for funding. After four 11-hour days and a wrap-up on Sunday, I may be too tired to write, but I promise I’ll share my experience.
Until then, ready or not, here I go. Wish me luck and hopefully, I’ll have weeks and weeks of fun-filled tales to tell upon my return. Cheers!
Florida isn’t really known for its change of seasons. I mean, we pretty much go from hot as hell to too damn cold and back with very little spring or fall in between. Take today for example – I’m enjoying “spring break”, we’re approaching the end of March and yet I have the heat cranked up, as it’s barely in the 60’s and a muted haze of gray outside. Yesterday, we crept out of the 40’s and barely made it into the 50’s. And yet a few days ago, we caught a glimpse of spring (though it was pushing a summer feeling) when it was in the 80’s, the sun was blazing and I had the air blasting to keep from melting.
Being a Florida native, I see pictures from up north (pick a state) filled with falling leaves of all shades of autumn hues – reds, oranges, browns, yellows. But step outside here and you get green. Oh, there was one day last week when whatever trees are growing out front decided to collectively dump their leaves. There were no fall colors, no drifting shades of autumn dancing on the wind. I opened the garage one morning to all green and the next morning to all brown. Seriously, it was like someone went outside and dumped bags of dead, brown leaves all over the driveway. I saw no floating fall colors – it was green, then brown, and fall is done.
Regardless of Florida’s overall lack of fall luster, I do have my special place here in Florida where all of autumn’s colored glory shines. You see, on my very brief 8-mile trek into work each morning, there is a bend in the road where the trees change. Instead of the straight, green pines, there are other trees, something surely transplanted from another state up north. Only a few miles from home, as I’m driving down the road, I turn the corner and there is my autumn. The leaves are big and all shades of bold fall colors. Some still hang from the trees, as if they are waiting for that perfect moment to drift on a breeze to the ground. If it’s dry out and the wind is just right, those that have fallen fly up as I drive through them and I can watch the swirly patterns they create in my rear-view mirror. Other mornings, it’s wet out and they stick to the ground, leaving a bare path down the road where my tires roll.
It’s a very short spot around a brief corner, but it’s my perfect little piece of autumn each year and has yet to disappoint me. I found myself reminiscing as I passed through it recently, now mostly bare & dead, but already starting to green. I wonder if anyone else even notices this place. I wonder if anyone else feels autumn they way I do around that curve in the road. It would be a shame if I’m the only one who appreciates its seasonal beauty.
I consider myself a fairly “green” person, probably about average by most standards. I recycle, use a motorcycle as much as possible (50-55 MpG), don’t use bottled water and I even pack my lunch in these really cool reusable bags. So going to an NHRA race this past weekend grinds against my green principles a little. Enjoying it as much as I did, and I feel like I need to complete some form of penance.
I knew what to expect – I’ve seen the races on television before. They do a nice, big, smokey burnout, getting the tires good & hot and laying down a fresh patch of rubber. They backup slowly, making their way to the exact spot for launch and then they are off, blasting their way down a quarter mile, never to return. It’s over in a matter of seconds, and while they are making their way off the strip, the next two cars are ready to start the procedure all over again.
Yep, I knew what to expect. What I didn’t expect was my own reaction to this event. James & I arrived casually, not really paying much mind to what event or class was scheduled when. We had two days to enjoy the sights & smells and we don’t follow drag racing, so we weren’t as into it as others clearly were. I had purchased seats at the start line, bottom row. We couldn’t get much closer without actually being on the track.
The first to roll out were the funny cars (no idea on why the name – they didn’t look funny). They each did their own burnout, creeping back while teams of people checked this and adjusted that. Then, as everyone moved away, they started inching forward, slowly, seemingly teasing each other like a fake-out. One green light lit and that driver waited for his competitor to creep forward in order to light his own, which he did. Next up, each driver creeps a little more, not even inches at a time until a line appears across their green light. When one has the green line, the driver revs the engine, waiting for the other to follow suit. There’s the flashing of the lights down the tree and an explosion of sound and smoke as they fly down the strip. In a few seconds, it’s over. I realize I’d been holding my breath and let it out. At this point, I’m bouncing I’m so excited and the smile across my face couldn’t go away if I wanted it to.
Over and over, the same routine – the smoke as they burn the tires, the adjustments, then the creeping as I waited for the lights to drop, leaving just the explosion. I loved it. I started asking questions, trying to learn a little about what I was seeing. We watched the alcohol funny cars, as soon as one set was nearing the finish, I was already seeking out the next two for line-up. Then I saw them – the motorcycles!
Now, strapping yourself into a car, complete with a roll-cage, to propel yourself down a quarter mile strip at speeds over 200 miles per hour is insane, but doing just that, no roll-cage & on a motorcycle – I was impressed. For the bikes, it was a similar routine, but no backing up. They used a wet patch to warm up the tires, then moved forward, taking their position at the lineup. As a rider, I watched, fascinated at the process. They didn’t even flinch, just revved the bike and as soon as the light hit, they dropped, no, slammed, themselves onto the tank, typically the front wheel not touching back to the ground until about 3rd gear, nearly hitting the 200 MpH mark each time. California Katie became my new Wonder Woman that day, reaching just over 196 MpH and smoking the competition.
There was a break between the bikes and the next round, James & I seeking the shade for relief under the stands. I was so excited, I couldn’t stand it. And I still had no idea what was in store! We made our way back to our seats as the next two cars started their process. These were the top guns, the ones you actually get to see on television. You know, the cars with the HUGE rear tires and the car body that stretches like 30 feet to the front, where a pair of bicycle wheels take over for steering. They started with their burnouts, one then another. You could see the tires change shape as they let loose. They stopped, rolled back, the crew making those last crucial adjustments. James motioned for me to hold my ears and I did as I was instructed. They crept forward, first green lights, and then they revved. Before I could smile in anticipation, there was sound and feeling like none I have ever experienced. The entire grandstand shook, I shook – I’m pretty sure the world shook. I’m not talking vibrate or buzzed, like the cars and bikes before them. I mean shook. Nothing could have prepared me for that moment, the feeling of pure power slamming against me, moving through me, dissipating into nothing. I was impressed. I liked it. I liked the smell, the sights, the sound, the feeling – every single thing about it, even when the nitro-methane hit me and I felt like I’d been pepper-sprayed.
Yet as we finally left the field for home, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt over my excitement. NHRA is not a green sport. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere in the anti-green world of things humans probably shouldn’t be doing. I haven’t looked up statistics – I’m not sure I want to know. With the excitement of the weekend waning (it took some time to come off that nitro-methane high), I know I must do some form of green penance to make up for my sheer enjoyment of what surely not only shook the world, but left some form of negative impact. I shouldn’t enjoy it – I probably shouldn’t have gone. But secretly, I can’t wait to go again!
Shortly after publishing Murder in D Minor, I saw a quote: I’m a writer – Strangers pay me to tell them lies.
At the time, I paused to consider this, but then dismissed it. I mean, basically, if you really boil it down, yes, readers pay writers to tell them lies. But it’s more than that. I mean, people lie all the time and we don’t pay for it nor do we like it. Really, we pay writers to tell us interesting lies, to weave lies into fascinating plots we want to hear, to create amazing characters and beautiful places where we can send our imaginations. Through these lies, we forget about the truths we face each day, our real life.
In an attempt to escape my own reality, I recently took off on my bicycle, enjoying the beautiful weather and fresh air. Regardless of the attempt to empty my mind, it was filled with my business, an upcoming crowd funding event and plotting my newest character’s life through the first three books of a series. Somehow the three morphed into one crazy idea – I would practice Twitter through my fictitious character, Jack. I raced home, created a Twitter account as Jack D Arden and started following (stalking???) people.
I was surprised when people actually started following Jack back. With some coaching from a friend, I learned how to #hashtag catch words and how to @tag people. I learned that re-tweeting and favoriting posts are both good for results. I soon found that I, I mean Jack, was averaging about three new followers a day. To maintain his popularity, he is now posting at least 4-5 times per day, a few personal posts and re-tweets of things that would pertain to Jack’s life as an actor living in Woodside, CA with his wife Allie and Rottie Zoe.
It was only a few days into my Twitter experiment and Jack had his first retweet. Soon after, someone favorited a post of his. That first week, I even got an email that some fitness company used his #FitLife & #CardioTime to track statistics for people working out. I found this insanely amusing and Jack upped his postings, tagging @Allie in a few. Turns out @Allie is a real person. Oops. Hope she didn’t mind – we won’t be tagging her any longer. Then, twelve days in and with 37 followers, Jack got a message. She wrote, “Thanks for following me. Let me know what I can do for you.” And this is where that quote hit me once again: I’m a writer – strangers pay me to tell them lies.
I’m not Jack, heck, he doesn’t even exist. Right now, he’s only a figment of my imagination, as his story, his lies, aren’t yet published for people to pay for. How do I respond to this innocent female? Before I answer that, I guess I have to answer who responds to her, Jack or Diane. Did she follow the breadcrumb trail to my website, knowing Jack is a fake and expecting Diane to answer? Or did she simply glance at the new follower and throw something back out to Jack, the actor happily living in Woodside, CA with his wife Allie and Rottie named Zoe?
Therein lies my personal conundrum. I’m not a liar, at least I don’t think of myself as one. But I’ve created a person, have devised a plot and am carrying it out for the world to read. Well, the world can’t read all of it, of course. At some point, Jack’s Twitter will no longer tweet, and the only way to learn what happened to him is to read the book. Until then, I’m committed to continuing the masquerade, tweeting and responding to messages as Jack. If you’re on Twitter, I recommend you follow Jack and enjoy the ride. This should prove to be interesting…