I committed a horrible blunder the first week we traveled in Europe, and have learned many lessons because of it. The upside? I’m thinking, if I write a suspense story about this experience, I won’t feel as stupid as I feel right now.
It starts with our 180+ mile-an-hour train ride from Paris to Aix En Provence, a lovely experience in our upstairs coach, watching the beautiful French countryside buzzing by. The ride is so smooth, my husband and I are feeling quite pampered. I take my computer out of my backpack and unzip it from its protective container, putting the case to my side. I’ll do a little work as we speed across country. Two and a half hours later, we stop in Avignon. We notice people get off the train quickly; others get on as quickly, and off we go. The train barely gets up to speed when we arrive at Aix and everyone is wildly pulling luggage out and preparing to get off the train…it’s a frantic atmosphere that we catch on to, hurriedly putting our things together and edging to the stairs so we’re ready to get off. The train goes to Marseille next; by the stern looks and impatient whistles from the conductors, their schedule is tight.
So Steve and I gather our things and get off the train thinking about our next maneuver-catching a bus to Aix. We get that figured out, bus to Aix, taxi to our new place, and settle in. I realize I better power up my computer, so I pull it out of my backpack, to realize I’ve left the protective container on the train. Worse, I mean MONUMENTALLY distressing, my external hard drive is zipped into that missing container. EVERYTHING I’ve got on my computer is in my external hard drive. Yes. EVERY…DAMN…THING!
First, I go on line to determine out how to get my hard drive back. TGV (the French bullet train) has an English, user-friendly site to claim my loss, and, amazingly, a drop-down category under lost electronics labeled “hard drives.” No way to call TGV; e-mail is my only recourse. Magic would have to be on my side to ever get this hard drive back (and I’d have to go to Marseille to get it).
But you’ve already figured out the biggest problem: All my files, my books, my personal stuff, including a file with a list of passwords, is readily available to anyone who plugs in my hard drive. There wasn’t a way to password protect my hard drive and I did not protect my files individually. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. After a couple of days here, I discover that MAC is well-loved by the French. There’s a huge Mac store here, packed with people all hours of the day. My external drive, nursed on a MAC, has a large audience in this country. Now I’m nervous. Really nervous.
Important: After you read the last sentence of this blog, go and password-protect your computer in case it’s stolen or lost (I’ve done that now), and give passwords to individual files you don’t want anyone to see (also done.) You’ve already guessed that my husband and I have changed a couple dozen passwords by now. I realize we’re supposed to switch out passwords often, but we hadn’t. It’s done now. Call that a positive.
I don’t want to think about what could happen to my books should those files get into the wrong hands. My personal stuff? To the blackmailer, I'll say everything I write is fiction. In fact, because I research some of the darker subjects known to humankind, my files probably look like a sociopath’s! (I’m saying this to make myself feel better? Really?)
Chances are my external drive lies in a garbage dump outside the Marseille train station (where they clean the train cars). I hope.
As I said, I plan to use this 'loss' plot in a book or short story soon. Lemonade out of lemons, I say!
My goal is to write about trauma, not live it, so let's talk about my last novel. You'll witness the many shades of anxiety in FEAR LAND. My readers tell me the novel stretched their learning about anxiety and they’re anxious to have their friends read the book.
That makes me smile. An engaging suspense story with a touch of paranormal to let your imagination run free, a high concept, and a chance to learn something new…that’s what reading is all about!
This is FEAR LAND:
Tally hates to hear rants from people’s brains. What does she do when those mind-screams threaten
the man she loves?
Tally Rosella, an acclaimed psychiatrist who helps children fraught with anxiety, avoids adults because their brains rant at her. But the chance to start a second child study and connect her findings to PTSD, sets her squarely among devious colleagues at a big California university.
Army Major Cole Messer, Tally’s new neighbor, won’t admit that trauma from combat tours in Afghanistan, destroyed his marriage and hampered his ability to lead. As a teacher of college ROTC and single parent, he’s focused on enrolling his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and getting back to active duty.
Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles with co-workers put Cole and his son in jeopardy. Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.
FEAR LAND on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012JE75ES