Author Archives: NL Quatrano

About NL Quatrano

Award-winning author, speaker, editor, and ghostwriter, Nancy owns a full-time editing, writing, and specialty publishing business: On-Target Words/WC Publishing. Volunteer/member of professional writing organizations including Florida Writers Assoc., Sisters in Crime, Florida Author and Publishers Assoc, and Independent Book Publishers Assoc., and AWAI. 2010 Professional Woman of the Year by the NAPW. Linked in Editor Pick May 2013. International Women's Leadership Association nominee for Outstanding Leadership 2014. Author of Murder in Black and White, Still Shot, Merciful Blessings, Always Chasing 'Em and numerous published short stories.

The Holmes Chronicles: Part 4 The Trouble with Redheads

My cell phone hummed in my pocket, but I let it go. Undoubtedly, the Doc with the information I probably no longer needed. I went into the foyer to the marble table and picked up the kit and returned to the sitting room with it in hand.  I unzipped the fine leather jacket and laid it open on the table. Tucked inside the black velveteen was the hand crafted cup on a silver chain, the testevin of the sommelier. The wine thief was there, too.  One tool was missing however. One very sharp tool. A tool that would penetrate the ear canal and enter the brain, leaving a victim to die slowly but surely.

“Where is your  knife, Ms. Escondido?”

“I have no idea, Detective.” She looked at the kit as though it might bite her. “It should be right there.”

“Mi Dios,” the maid uttered under her breath.

“Where is the corkscrew, Angelina?” I turned to her with my  hand outstretched. She began to back out of the room again.

The young woman, only slightly less terrified of me than of her boss, crept forward, her right hand in her pocket. She pulled out a bloodied linen napkin and handed it to me.

I tore a page out of my notebook, cradled the messy package in my palm and carefully unfolded the napkin.

I wrapped it up and slipped it into my pocket. “Ms. Escondido, you’ll need to come with me.”

“I don’t have to go anywhere. I have no idea how Angelina got my knife. For all I know she was sleeping with that bastard. Maybe she killed him with it.”

The young woman looked at me, the fear in her eyes replaced with loathing. “I did not do this thing she says. She gave this to me when she came down the stairs. I did not even see what it is.”

“I’ll have you deported you ungrateful little bitch,” Stella hissed. Angelina’s back straightened as she untied her apron and let it fall to the floor.

“Can she do that to me? She promised to help me be American person. Can she make me go back?”

Immigration wasn’t my specialty, but I had friends in many places. I shook my head. “She’s not going to do anything to you, Angelina. Don’t worry.”

“Sure, let a killer walk away and pin it all on me, you two-bit Dick Tracy. I’m going to call my lawyer right now.”

“No, Stella. You can call him from the police station. Let’s go.”

I reached for her arm and snapped a cold steel cuff on her wrist. Her eyes widened and she jerked away from me. I saw it coming and stepped beside her, catching her other wrist in my hand.  I began to recite her rights.

Rage-filled eyes blazed at me. “That egotistical bastard was going to cut me out of that prize-winning wine. Well, I showed him. I gave him what he begged for. ‘Screw me, baby, screw me’.”

I cuffed her hands behind her back and finished reading her the card. She raged on, all but foaming at the mouth.

After the squad car came and took her away, I checked my cell phone. Sure enough, it was the M.E.

I beat her to the punch line.  “Here’s one for your files, Doc. The guy was screwed to death.”


The Holmes Chronicles: Part 3 The Trouble with Redheads

With two suspects on the list and more  to interview, Detective Mickey Holmes is determined to find the killer of wine master Samuel Kingston…

I was still reeling over a bottle of wine valued at a million bucks. I stared at the magazine in my hand.

“Can I keep this?” I asked Samuel’s brother, thumbing through it quickly.

“Sure. Be my guest. Any questions, just let me know.” David stuffed his hands into his pockets and looked me in the eye.

“You said the Cork and Bottle wasn’t Samuel’s. Want to fill in the blanks?”

“Teresa’s grandfather owned this vineyard. Teresa was the only surviving child and quite business savvy, so rather than sell it, her father left it to her when he died. Samuel was a vine tender of note. His grapes won awards. Her wedding present to him was this vineyard, with no pre-nuptial agreement. Foolish perhaps, but it’s what she did. A month later, she was little more than a lovely companion for his award banquets and dinner parties.”

I finished my notes and stood. “Where can I find your sommelier?”

He shook his head. “That would be my wife, I’m afraid. And she hasn’t come in yet. I ran the morning tour myself. I called the house and was told she would be here later.”

I got Stella Escondido’s phone number and address and thanked him for his time. I shook my head as I got in the car. All this money and the only thing with class was the grapes. Jeesh.

The five-mile drive to the Escondido farms was beautiful enough, but I had a feeling this case was about to be closed tighter than a ten-year old vat of Cabernet. I pulled up to the massive colonial mansion, parked and got out of the car. I picked up the brass grape cluster and knocked three times. The white plantation-style doors swung open and I was greeted by a young Latino woman who I figured must be the hired help.

“Senor? May I help you, please?”

“I’d like to see Ms. Escondido. Tell her Detective Holmes is here to see her. It’s important.”

I was invited to stand in the grand entry, so I did just that. Another four-thousand square foot mausoleum with more art on the walls than the Met. Wine sure paid well, these days. Of course, we weren’t talking about the wine I bought for the occasional in-home dinner party.

I probably stood there ten minutes. Just as I was about to start hollering at the top of my lungs, Stella Escondido came through the hallway by the winding staircase. Eyes the color of burnished pennies looked at me like I was an insect. I made sure to look her over good, from the top of her head to the toes of her brown suede pumps. Her olive complexion colored just a bit. Another gorgeous redhead. Just great.

“Can I help you, Detective? I was getting ready to go over to the Cork and Bottle. I had such a headache this morning, I couldn’t get going.”

She had a bruise on her cheek, too. Oh, the expensive foundation did a nice job, but I know bruising when I see it. And she knew I saw it. She dropped her gaze and looked at the maid.  “Bring coffee, Angelina.”

I noticed a black leather case on the marble side table and recognized it from the wine magazine. The sommelier’s case would contain her tastevin and sommelier knife…

“How’d you get the black eye, Ms. Escondido?”

Her fingers flew to her face and she paled. “I stumbled last night leaving the winery. I can be very clumsy when I am tired and have had too many tours.”

“I see. Pretty nasty bump, for sure. Looks like it hurts.”  I looked around. “What time did you leave the winery?”

She shrugged, but I noticed the trembling fingers before she slipped her hands into the slash pockets of her white linen slacks. We were moving toward the parlor to the left of the entryway.

“Around midnight, I think. Samuel and I had some business to discuss after the Romenelli tour left.”

“What sort of business, Ms. Escondido?”

“Private business. Why do you ask?”

I decided to ignore her question. “Can anyone vouch for your whereabouts after midnight last night?”  I cleared my throat. “Your husband, perhaps?”

“I have no idea what you’re getting at Detective. And I’m sure you already know that my husband and I are in the process of divorce. We do not spend our evenings together. However, if you’re quite finished, I need to get to the winery. There is no one to do the tours if I don’t get there.”

“Actually, I’m not finished. And your husband did the only tour there is today. The winery is closed, Ms. Escondido. Mrs. Kingston closed it about an hour ago. In honor of her dead husband.”

A gasp escaped the maid who almost dropped the coffee service on the floor. She placed the tray on the coffee table and stepped out of the room. Stella however, remained cool and composed, though her clutched hands were shaking like a drunk with the DT’s.

“Teresa wouldn’t bother closing the winery. Or opening it either, for that matter. She doesn’t care that much about the grapes or Samuel.”

I looked at her a long time. “How do you feel about the winery, Stella? How did you feel about Samuel?”

She shot me a look that would have pinned a lesser man to the wall, but I worked the streets of Brooklyn a lot of years.  “The winery is the best in the state. I helped to make it that way. My blends created one of the finest wines in the country.”

“Like the million-dollar bottle on the cover of Wines Unlimited magazine?”

“That was my creation. Neither the million dollars nor the award belonged to Samuel. I made that point very clear last night.”  She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and dared me to disagree. “He was unhappy, but alive when I left him, I assure you.”

I’ll just bet…

Part 4: August 3rd. See you then!

Dorian


The Holmes Chronicles: Part 2 of The Trouble with Redheads…

Grapes of wrath?

Adultery’s a great motive for murder. And this redhead was a looker…

“Sam’s brother share the same last name, Mrs. Kingston?”

She nodded and I jotted. “Where can I reach him? I promise to be discreet.”

She pointed toward the front window. “He’s the overseer at the vineyard. He’s here from six in the morning until ten at night. He lives in the cottage closest to the winery.”

I handed her my card and thanked her. She looked at me, sadness finally evident. “Don’t try too hard to find this person, Detective. Samuel truly was a mean, evil person.”

“I hear you, ma’am. But unfortunately, being mean and evil isn’t necessarily a crime. Thanks again for your time.”

The butler appeared magically to escort me back through the house to the front door. If I’d worn a hat, he’d have handed it to me.  Since I hadn’t, I figured I was entitled to a question.

“Any idea who killed your boss?”

He stood perfectly still and I thought he was going to ignore me all together. Then he shook his head. “It’s not for me to say, sir.”

I handed him a card too and patted his shoulder. “It is if you know anything, my man. Otherwise, you’re impeding an investigation and you can go to jail.”

If possible, he stiffened under my touch. “I have no idea, I assure you.”

I grinned at him and offered my hand which he shook. The huge glass and oak door closed quietly behind me.

I stood on the veranda and looked out over the estate. What a view.  The vineyard and winery were at the base of the hill at the end of the drive. At five o’clock this morning, I hadn’t been able to appreciate the vast rows of greenery. I got in the car and headed down the road.

I arrived at the winery just as a small group of well-dressed men and women were leaving what had just a few hours earlier, been my crime scene.  They climbed into a shiny black limousine and drove off in a cloud of dust. I pushed open the heavy arched door and entered the Cork and Bottle. Aged wood and wine has a distinct smell and that aroma hung in the air. The bell above the door had sounded my arrival, but no one appeared.

“Hello?” I called, looking around at the floor-to-ceiling racks of dark glass bottles. Some of the dates on the racks made these grapes older than me. I laughed to myself. They’ve undoubtedly aged better, though.

 “Can I help you, sir?”

I whirled around, almost wiping out the profits of 1975 as I did so, and faced a tall man with a graying beard. “I’m looking for David Kingston. Know where I can find him?”

He inclined his head. “That would be me. And you are?”

I gave him my card and my credentials. He motioned me around the long wooden counter toward the sparsely furnished, but spacious office where his brother had died in the early morning hours. Someone had smoked a lot of fruitwood pipe tobacco in that room. He stopped outside the door, shook his head, looked at me and came back to lean against an old steel-rimmed cask. I explained what I needed. He looked down at his hands a long time. His eyes were not so bright when he met mine.

“I’d rather not go in there, just yet.”

“Can’t say as I blame you.”  I told him of Mrs. Kingston’s alibi. He shuffled his feet and looked out the UV protected window.

“Theresa was not lying. We were together last night in Princeton. I can product the hotel receipt if that will help you.”

“Anyone see you two while you were there, Mr. Kingston?”

He shrugged. “We checked in together, the bellhop took up our bags while we went to the restaurant where we had reservations for dinner. However, after eleven, we went to our room to do the things we went there to do. No witnesses until check out time, I’m afraid.”

“Why was Mrs. Kingston reluctant to give me your name? You don’t seem to have too much of a problem with your relationship.”

“She is a lady. She has always insisted we be discreet about our affair and she’s right to feel that way. But my brother was a cruel man. If she’d filed for divorce, he’d have taken this vineyard away from her. It wasn’t his to take, but he’d have done it.”

“I see. So, no one can vouch for either of you between eleven and what time?”

“The time the telephone woke us up this morning. I believe the police spoke with Teresa around eight o’clock.”

With Princeton only forty minutes away, their alibi wasn’t as good as they thought it was.

“Are you married, David?”

His eyes narrowed. “Technically speaking, at least for another few months. My wife lives up the road. Stella Escondido of Escondido Wineries.”

“Wait a minute,” I said, halting pen mid-air, “why do you work here and not there? Mrs. Kingston sounded as though you’ve been the tender here for a long time.”

“Escondido Wineries went to Stella’s brothers, not to Stella. There is no love lost between the siblings and I didn’t want their money. I’ve always worked with my brother. Stella kept her family name and moved back to the family home about a year ago.”

I put pen to paper again and made a few more notes. “Were she and Sam lovers by any chance?”

His laugh was forced. “People like them don’t love anything. They had an affair with the grapes, Detective. The richest grapes, the biggest harvest, the oldest vintage, the most prestigious awards. It was a twisted rivalry between them, spiced with lust.”  He shoved a magazine into my hands. “Teresa and I might as well have not even existed.”

Sam was on the cover of the magazine with a bottle of wine valued at a million bucks.

A million bucks was an even better incentive for murder…

Part 3: July 20th! See you then.

Dorian


The Holmes Chronicles:The Trouble with Redheads

Hello, Dorian here–the biggest slacker of them all. I’m sorry I was MIA, but seriously, David is right – we’ve been up to our eyeballs in writing stuff and so have the Rogues, but we’re back on track now!!  Hope you went out and bought YOUR copy of The Method Writers and Fictitious Fiction!  If not – what are you waiting for??  Oh, YOU want the hardcover? Well, you can preorder it at the publisher – and get a free bonus, so get going! July will be here before you know it!  (www.clearviewpressinc.com)

Since I  still love listening to The Green Hornet on the radio late at night, and the rest of the gang is doing such a great job with their stories, I’m jumping on the serial bandwagon, too.  It’s 1990. My character is an aging New York cop who’s left the big city for a sleepy region in southwestern New Jersey. An area of wonderful vineyards, miles of horse farms, and a quieter way of life. Or, maybe not.

Without further ado, I submit for you, part 1 of, The Trouble with Redheads

Award winning NJ wines   I’m an old street cop with a homicide detective’s badge. The name’s Mickey Holmes and I’d rather not get into my mother’s passion for old mysteries. It’s ten-thirty in the morning on the Monday after my brother’s wedding, and I’m in the coroner’s office, with a bit of a hangover.  They delivered my vic for autopsy around six-thirty this morning.

“Hey, Doc, what’s the word on Kingston? Any cause of death yet?”

The coroner looked at me with bloodshot eyes. “Did you bring coffee? No coffee, no report,” she said.

I produced the requisite double latte and sat my left hip on the corner of the desk. “Okay, let me have it. Stabbing, right? But what weapon am I looking for, any idea?”

Dr. Macabre winked and slid out of her chair. “No idea, Mickey. Not something I’ve seen before. Homicide for sure and it is a stab wound, but it’s not a knife. It’s also not an ice pick or letter opener. Point of entry was his left ear, however.”

“You’re a big help. Can you give me anything at all?”

“Well, lividity and such indicate he was killed around two in the morning, so he was dead about three hours when you were called. No defensive wounds on the hands, a bump on the head that was not fatal, probably sustained when he hit the floor. I’d suspect a female killer.”

I drained my coffee and tossed the cup in the trashcan across the room. “What makes you think that?”

“The wound was inflicted with an upward thrust. Not a certainty of course, but a woman would be shorter, slighter than Samuel Kingston. There’re also some red hair strands that are obviously not his.”

I had all I was going to get. I needed to find his wife and have a chat with her, then get a warrant to go back into the crime scene, just in case. Twenty years on the force had taught me to listen to my intuition and my gut told me the murder was related to the winery.

“Thanks, Doc. Call me if you dig up anything else.”  I waved over my shoulder as I headed out the door and down the corridor.

I climbed in my navy blue Crown Vic and steered into the downtown traffic. Samuel Kingston owned the Corkand Bottle Winery and all five hundred acres of the finest grapes in the State of New Jersey. Two phone calls and I was told Mrs. Kingston was supposed to be at the manor house by the time I got there. I didn’t want to keep her waiting.

Twenty minutes later, I pulled into the Montgomery Township estate and drove up the half-mile long drive that wound through the vineyard. I pulled up to the front door and parked my car. Before I climbed the steps, the door opened and a white-gloved butler appeared.

“Detective Holmes, I presume?”

“That’s me,” I said, presenting my shield and identification for his inspection. He nodded and I put it back in my jacket pocket.

I entered the foyer and looked around at the Impressionist paintings and the Belgian crystal chandelier. Not overly ornate, but it was damned expensive that’s for sure. My ex-wife and her Hampton-bred parents would have approved. The Kingstons’ lived well. Or had lived well. A moment later, the butler reappeared and escorted me to Mrs. Kingston. A stunning redhead with emerald green eyes and freckles.

She rose from behind her gold leafed Louis XIV desk, removed her oval rimless glasses, then offered her hand. I shook it and noticed the firm grip. No tears streaked down her fair cheeks, but not everyone shows grief with tears. I took the seat she indicated. She sat across from me and crossed long, perfect legs.

“I’m sorry to bother you at such a terrible time Mrs. Kingston, but the sooner we get the facts straight, the sooner we’ll catch your husband’s killer.”

She looked me in the eye. “Must you?”

“Must I what?” I asked.

“Must you find his killer? He’s done society such a grand service; it would be a shame to punish him.”

I caught myself before I laughed out loud, but I wanted to. She was a trip. No love lost in the Kingston Empire, I guess. “Murder is illegal, Mrs. Kingston. I’m afraid I do have to find the killer.”  I cleared my throat. “You seem to think the killer is a man. Do you have someone specific in mind? A particular enemy of your husband’s?”

She smiled at me as though I was a dim-witted child. “This list would be endless, Detective. I have no idea who may have done this. I just used the male gender at random. I suppose it could have been a woman, of course.”

“Where were you this morning between the hours of one and four?”

She barked a deep throaty laugh and tossed her head back. “I was at the Princeton Hyatt. That’s where I got the call from the police. I’m sure you can check on that.”

“Can anyone at the hotel vouch for you?”  I asked, holding her mischievous gaze.

“Yes, someone can vouch for me, though I’d rather not divulge his name.”

I pulled out my notebook and pen. “I can understand that, but I need that name. If the story checks out, the name gets filed.”

A faint blush spread along her fine cheekbones and she looked out the window, breaking our connection.

“I was with Samuel’s brother, David.”

# # #

Part 2: July 6

Happy 4th of July!!!  Dorian


Death of an Inspiration

AP Photo

Mike Wallace – Journalist

Being a journalist, the death of Mike Wallace was a significant loss in my world. Of course, Mike Wallace being who he was, he had a significant impact on the ENTIRE world, for most of his 60 years in the business.

But one day earlier, in a small town, another gifted man died. The “Painter of Light” and author of inspirational books, overdosed on prescription drugs chased with alcohol alone in his home in California.

In this world, a hard, rough and tumble place of immeasurable beauty that’s occupied by beings capable of unspeakable cruelty, two men saw it with different eyes and gifts. One took it for what it was and allowed us to see it that way, too. The other wanted us to see the beauty that God created and not the dangerous, dark, and disreputable side that he knew was there.

Thomas Kincaid, like many treasured artists, was ridiculed by the “experts” and wounded somewhere in his spirit in a way that he could not allow to heal. The light God gave him went out and maybe that’s why he was so passionate about capturing it on canvas. Was he looking for it? Hoping to create so much in the world that his spirit would find its own again?

Mike Wallace, like the reporters of integrity before him, didn’t appear to much care about what anyone else thought. He exposed the dark side so we could see it in the light. He pursued the unvarnished truth of things and landed his verbal blows with an accuracy that reporters still critique with envy. His interviews indicate that by the time he retired in 2006, he had no illusions regarding the world or himself.

But both men wrestled with depression. Kinkade battled his darkness with alcohol and as one might predict, the alcohol bought him no light. Wallace also experienced some years of depression that he fought with the help of professionals and some medications. He kept his dark time a secret from the public so he wasn’t perceived “weak” or “vulnerable.” It would seem that the demands Wallace put on himself far exceeded those of his colleagues, family, or his Creator.

Mike Wallace, dead at age 93, a man who found peace with his regrets, eventually admitted his weaknesses, and was highly regarded by people around the world for his dogged determination to reveal truth no matter how uncomfortable it might be.

Thomas Kinkade, dead at age 54, a man who brought light to the world with his paintings and writing, who was loved by many not only for the peace that his artwork instilled, but for the hope he seemed to stand for in our world.

Two guiding lights extinguished in the same week. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m sad at the loss of them both.  And I’m glad that I’m a journalist and can’t paint worth a darn. There are days when the world looks really dark, but when we stare the truth in the eyes and stick together, we create our own light.

Until next time – I wish you all light.

Dorian


The High Cost of Writing

ImageWow! I really hope you’re following Pinch Hitter!  I had Sirius radio in my Ford for a while and they played radio programs like, The Shadow, The Phantom, and even Superman. I started scheduling my late story nights so I was driving and could listen to the next episode. Now, I have Kenny Black!!!  Can’t wait until next week!

Being that it’s April, I’ve just completed my taxes and hence, the title of my musings today. I made money again this year with my writing and that’s a wonderful thing! I’m blessed to make enough money with writing that I qualify to even file a tax return and that fact isn’t lost on me. It tops my daily “Thank You ” list every morning.

My CPA pointed out that I’d spent a lot more on the auto expenses and conferences in 2011 over the previous year. I pointed out that fuel has increased by 22% during that time and so have conference costs. He nodded and said, “What the heck has not gone up in the past year?” (Including his fee, by the way…)

 That got me to thinking…

This list, though it may be short, includes things that have not gone up:

The number of dates I’ve had

My contract payment rate (per page/per word/per article)

The number of paid writing outlets (media’s shifting daily, it seems)

The number of vacation days I’ve actually spent vacating (I usually spend them working at the condo)

The number of rejections for my latest novel (read on!)

That last item might make you think, “Well, that’s a good thing!” And, if I’d incresaed the number of submissions over the prior year, it would be, but alas, I submitted to very few publisher/agents in 2011.

So, the point is that if you plan to make money writing, you must submit. A lot. And if you don’t submit, then the high cost of writing isn’t about ink cartridges and mileage expenses, it’s about missed opportunities.   

Keep writing – AND submitting. Don’t miss out on YOUR opportunities!

Dorian

www.themethodwriters.com

 

 

 


Cat House

Harley AnnHello, everyone!!!  Had a great time in New Orleans, but glad to be back home here in Daytona Beach, even though it’s Bike Week.

Or, maybe it’s great to be back, because of Bike Week.  This and the 500 ARE Daytona. This rolling, rumbling, colorful festival of humanity is entertaining for the most part. The bikers are from all walks of life. Men and women from around the world descend on Daytona and surrounding areas to eat, drink and be merry. Vivid tattoos pale in comparison to the designs on the bikes and I find myself staring on occasion at the places that some folks will pierce, though that does not just apply to those who ride motorcycles. Hotels and hospitals alike are jammed to the rafters during our March madness.

Anyway, I did quite a bit of writing while visiting my parents and I’m delighted to announce that our short story collection FICTICIOUS FICTION will be available to readers very soon. And, I brought back a roommate.  She’s feisty and talks more than a two-year-old on Dr. Pepper. Her name is Harley, but she doesn’t appear to be particularly fond of motorcycles. Actually, as I’m writing this, she’s situated at the top of a “tree” in my living room, looking extremely annoyed at all the noise roaring up and down the boulevard.

Harley Ann, like me, was an orphan. Mom said she was found sleeping under a Harley in the New Orleans impound yard. Unlike me, Harley’s absolutely beautiful and has the disposition of a nesting gator.  My mother worries because I live alone. And somehow, she thinks that this gorgeous long-haired cat with the terrible disposition is going to be good for my mental health.

I have to say, that somewhere out on Alligator Alley I discovered that she was more hiss and spit than mean. Though she swiped at me with those big furry paws, she never put out her claws. And when I pet her soft fur, she began to talk up a storm. I’d ask a question and she’d answer me. And when I put on a CD and started to sing along, I noticed she was singing, too.  If I tell the truth, she is sort of entertaining.

So, now the Method Writers all have someone special in their lives. (Besides each other, that is.)  Marty has his little Anna. And David has that beautiful Kaybee. Georgie Mae has charming Boo Radley (and Joe, of course) and now I too, have a room-mate.

Somehow I suspect that I’ll end up being the room-mate. And the cat will have the run of the house…

Catch you in a couple of weeks.  Stay safe out there!

Dorian

 

 


SMART-ALEC PHONES

Dorian has deserted us for a couple of weeks to go visit with her parents in New Orleans. So, she asked me to cover for her and here I am.  I’ve dabbled in novel-writing, am accomplished in short story writing and enjoy writing articles,  but thought I’d share my latest column with you in hopes you can relate–Nancy Q.

At the urging (constant urging is more accurate) of my spouse, I’ve retired my duct-taped, red, Nokia phone with the 500-minute plan for a Samsung Infuse that is smarter than I am and costs twice as much per month as the old one since it requires data plans and message plans and all sorts of things my simple flip-and-dial did not. It’s also not nearly so convenient to carry. No pockets for this thing, it requires Samsonite luggage of its own.

In the first two minutes of use, I reached out and touched someone in a country I can’t pronounce and I was just trying to turn it on. I thought if I could find my daughter’s number in my contacts, she could tell me how to use the darned thing, especially since she really IS smarter than I am about these things. I’m a read-the-manual type person, but phones no longer come with manuals, they come with web addresses for forty-minute tutorials. Who has forty whole minutes?

Although I followed the colorful QUICK START page, my phone was not activated, so I called the number provided. That produced some good and not so good results. The phone, after fifteen minutes of “please hold while I check this,” was finally activated and told me so via a free text message that made it jump off the desk and onto the floor. Good thing I’d bought that pretty blue protective cover.

But the phone company could not explain what had happened to more than two thousand roll over minutes, though they could see that we had minutes rolling over at one time, we just don’t have them now.  I kept asking where they’d gone and the answer was, “you don’t have them anymore.” The young lady assisting me pointed out that since I didn’t have roll over minutes anymore, the plan I had for the old phones would certainly not be enough so I added some more minutes. And some more costs.

Not to be bested by something this size,  I have figured out how to place a call, find a number in my contacts, and sometimes even end a call successfully. It has Wi-Fi built-in, but I’m terrified I’ll end up with a million dollar phone bill because my Wi-Fi went roaming, so I turn the phone off completely when I’m not using it. Now I don’t get my calls at all. Not entirely a bad thing, though.

My emails ding when the phone is on, but I can’t answer them because when I type a reply on that teeny-tiny keyboard, my smart phone changes what I type into something else that is either not fit for print or is total gibberish. “I’ll be there” turned into “I behemoth.” Just what I need–a smart-alec phone: a teeny-tiny computerized wise guy.

If I’m unfortunate enough to be retyping the gibberish when an incoming call occurs, it’s all over. The email disappears and the phone call shows up. And, one must understand that you can’t press the “accept” button on the screen, one must SWIPE the button to the right. I’m not sure what happens if one swipes left. When I tried that on a call that was not complicated by an email, my right index finger tapped the power button and the call went away.

I’m not so old I can’t learn this. And I’ve decided to look at that forty minute video as an investment in my future. I’ll pour a glass of wine, cut up some cheese and then sit back and learn how to use my smart-alec phone. If that fails, I’ll ask Dorian to tutor me.

And then I’ll start tracking down what happened to my roll over minutes. They have to be around here somewhere.


DISCOVERIES…

I’ve just turned thirty. I’m college educated, a journalist with the good fortune to not only enjoy what I do, but to make a living at it. And, while video chatting with my writing group I realized to my great relief, that I’m still experiencing “ah-ha” moments.
For instance, Marty’s daughter Annabelle is a child who finds delight in everything. She squeals with delight when I click the remote control and make flames dance in the “fireplace” in my apartment. Just the memory of the sound of her gleeful laughter still makes me smile. I don’t have any kids, but Marty shares Annabelle with me from time to time and I’ve discovered for myself why he’s so crazy about being with that kid. I’m less fond of “why” than her laughter, but we have to take the good with the trying.
And Kenny Black, David’s alter-ego has turned out not to be all bad, though I don’t ever want to be on his bad side, that’s for sure. I’m trained to observe people and not make judgments so I can see the whole story, but with Black, that’s been difficult for me. However, I’ve rediscovered that it is folly to judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, the character in a book by his language and attitude.
And Georgie Mae’s unending list of talents never cease to amaze me. Artist, photographer, talented writer, I’d discovered that just letting that young lady go to town with whatever’s in her heart at the time produces the greatest results!
And of course, there’s Marty himself. A man who’s transformed from tired business man to delighted father at the mention of his daughter’s name. He’s helped me to discover that nothing is more important than being committed to those we love.
Maybe being a writer, whether it involves marketing copy or a novel, is really just about those discoveries we make along the way. And maybe that’s why I’m just so totally delighted that our novel The Method Writers is so close to being published and released!
I can’t wait for all of you to discover things for yourself as you read THE METHOD WRITERS!

Stay safe out there,
Dorian

P.S. For a great offer, visit MethodWriters.com website today!


Themes, Continued…

Bridget, this is so cool. Last week I too, recognized a theme running through everything I came across. For me, it was LISTENING. And, I think listening is a big part of writing.

What is really neat, is that one can learn SO much from listening. Like a child hearing his own words read to him; or a friend  venting after a stressful day and needing to be heard, what we hear, we learn from.

I think the world would be in better shape if we all spent more time listening. To nature, to what’s right in our hearts, to each other. And I mean, really, REALLY listen. Not listen just to have the right thing to say when the speaker is done talking, but to hear every word, every emotion, every fear, every joy. To be truly present to every word. A writer who notices all the pauses, nuances, inflections, dialects will write the most awesome dialog ever written.

I put the word “LISTEN” on a sticky note and fastened it to my computer monitor to remind myself to stop and listen for all I was worth at every opportunity.

On Sunday I sat back to give some thought to what I’d learned by changing how I listen to the world around me and realized my week had been richer, brighter, more powerful than before. I heard an owl calling to a mate on Monday night when I stood on the back porch for a few minutes before going to bed. I heard the pain and fear in a friend’s voice when she called to tell me her mother needed brain surgery; I felt the joy of a coworker when she spoke words of forgiveness and surrender about an ugly work situation. In a subtle, yet powerful way, my world shifted. It feels a little more balanced, somehow.

And, I heard the delight in my grandson’s words when he called to tell me how much he enjoyed the “talking” book sent to him for Christmas.

Yes, Bridget, I’m with you.  There is magic in them, there words…..

Nancy Q.

 


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