Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest M. S. Spencer Asks What Planet Do You Live On?

M. S. Spencer
What do the following have in common: A 10-year-old boy, a business woman, an 85-year-old man, and a celebrity on the skids?

Give up?  These people represent one of the four elements that separate humans from other animals: Condoned Insanity, aka socially acceptable addiction.

1)      Ethan Knockmeover, 10, of Brouhaha, Michigan, lived so far from his school—the Academy for Wayward Geeks—that he had to commute via subway.  For safety reasons his parents gave him an iPad.  Naturally little Ethan soon became hooked on video games.  (His schoolwork didn’t actually suffer because his teacher graded him solely on the level he reached in SimCity.)  En route to school one morning, engrossed in Asphalt 6, Ethan failed to remember that train tracks sit six feet below the platform.  Ignoring this planet’s laws of physics, he stepped into non-cyberspace.  He was rescued by the last remaining commuter NOT glued to a screen.

2)     This is a similar tale with similar consequences, only this time Gertrude Tinybrain had to step UP to connect with her inanimate adversary.  Ms. Tinybrain, absorbed like Ethan in her screen, fell into a low-flying fountain in a shopping mall.  Undeterred, she shook herself off, and keeping a firm, if moist, finger on her Apps screen, proceeded to her job.

3)     An old man drove his pickup the wrong way down a busy highway for several miles before the inevitable consequences of such antisocial activity caught up with him. But this isn’t about him. It’s about the two morons who, instead of using their phone to call 911, filmed the episode and laughed all the way up to the moment of the crash.

4)     There once was a celebrity (let’s call her Lois Lindley) who was continually caught engaging in assorted crimes, misdemeanors, and sins. One sunny day, she stole this teensy weensy diamond necklace and this threadbare mink coat, and then, oblivious to the public spotlight trained on her, let herself be photographed over and over (one more time and do that little pouty face for me…) wearing them. 

These four represent the current state of confusion between the planet of the mind and reality.  The computer screen is a portal.  Once you’re in cyberspace all things are possible and nothing has consequences, or at least real, permanent and painful consequences.  You’re not you in there; you are incognito.  No one recognizes the real you.  When the portal collapsed and reality and cyberspace collided, these four had no clue that people could actually see them.  That strangers could point and laugh at them.  That policemen could arrest them.

So how did all four react to their brush with reality? Not with humiliation, but with anger—either at the inanimate object their movable force fetched up against, or at the people who made fun of them.  Worse, some were actually surprised that reality could intrude on their pretty imaginary world. They could use a wakeup call. Perhaps a new AA group would help—Ethernet Anonymous.  “I’m somebody and I don’t believe I’m really here.” 

By the way, for those of you wondering what the other three elements are that distinguish humans from animals, they are: self-deprecating humor, snap judgments, and finicky eating.

CONTEST: The reader who comes up with the best example of social media addiction wins a pdf copy of either Losers Keepers, a tale of rekindled romance and murder on Chincoteague OR Triptych, in which lost artworks, jealousy, sex, larceny and genius plays out above the mighty Potomac River.

In Losers Keepers, Dagne Lonegan’s advice column alarmingly mirrors her life when a murder is committed her first week on Chincoteague, while two lovers vie for her affections.

Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.

Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?

Secret Cravings Publishing (2011)

eBook, 72,000 words, ISBN: 978-1-936653-95-9; print ISBN 978-1-61885-081-2

Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames

In my romantic suspense novel Triptych, the heroine Miranda wrestles with true love. She also wrestles with recalcitrant sisters, mysterious machines and art thieves.

Miranda Cabot lost all interest in love after her husband Edward crashed into the Potomac River rocks called the Three Sisters. Her sister Honor likewise prefers her tower and her writing.  Not so the third sister Sybil, who longs for romance with a dashing Frenchman.  She advertises for said hero on Craig’s List and is rewarded with the Chevalier du Bon Arnaque, who comes to Washington from Strasbourg on unidentified business.

            Miranda and Honor believe the Chevalier is a crook and ask their neighbors Dieter Heiliger and his grandson Corey, to act as chaperones. With three beautiful, strong-willed women in a house filled with three handsome, virile men, the inevitable result is an intricate web of jealousy, sex, and intrigue. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend calls for?

Secret Cravings Publishers (2011)

eBook, 65,000 words, ISBN: 978-1-61885-064-5
Print, 206 pp., ISBN: 978-1-61885-145-1, EAN13: 1618851454

Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames

Here’s an excerpt from Triptych, in which Miranda first meets Luc.

 “That’s the car, Sybil! The plane must have arrived early. Go open the door.”

Miranda heard the pounding of excited feet on the stairs. She checked her hair and dress and prepared herself not merely to meet the Chevalier du Bon Arnaque, but to dislike him intensely.

She called to Honor and stepped sedately down the long formal staircase to the central hall where Sybil was taking the coat of a very tall, black-haired gentleman. As she stood on the last step, he turned and glanced up at her. A long pause ensued. Did my heart just stop beating? The house, the hall, Sybil, everything but the man faded into the background. She examined his face minutely, as though she had all the time in the world. Ringlets of thick, glossy black hair twined over his forehead, the light catching highlights of silver at the temples and deep in his ebony eyes. Tanned skin stretched tight over his high cheekbones, reminding her of the portrait of a Highland chieftain that hung in her study. She could just make out a tiny upturn at the end of his nose that lent a fanciful air to his appearance. Perhaps not a clan chief but an elvish prince?

Slowly she grew aware of Sybil’s chattering. “Monsieur le Chevalier—see how well I pronounced it, monsieur? I’ve been practicing. I promise to be your best student ever! Oh, and this is Miranda, my sister. Honor? Honor! Are you coming down?”

Miranda took the last step into a new world. She faltered before this man who turned her inside out with a single look, and words failed her. As she struggled with an unaccustomed shyness he held out a friendly hand to her. She mustered up a firm shake from somewhere, noting the hard calluses that lined his palm. A work-hardened hand. Could it be he’s not a leisure-loving gigolo after all?

 M. S. Spencer would be very happy to hear from you. 

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Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for visiting the Roses of Prose to share your thoughts and books with us. Best of luck to you.

M. S. Spencer said...

Thanks so much for having me! I had fun writing the blog and look forward to hearing lots of other social media addiction stories! M. S. Spencer

Brenda Whiteside said...

You hooked me on this post. Thanks for guesting with us!

Jannine Gallant said...

My pet peeve is that kids won't even talk to their friends. They just text them. A whole generation is losing the ability to comunicate verbally! Thanks for visiting our blog.

M. S. Spencer said...

Talk to their friends??? My kids won't respond to anything but a text from me! One interesting phenomenon--neither watches TV--just DVDs. Is that normal? Meredith

Margo Hoornstra said...

She mustered up a firm handshake from somewhere. I love that line. Very intriguing post. Thanks for sharing and best of luck.

M. S. Spencer said...

Thank you Margo! Isn't it true that there certain phrases in books that just stick with you? Meredith

Janice Seagraves said...

My daughter and her friends all text. I asked my daughter if she does the short hand which I think is ruining spelling, she said no she spells things out. But I did caughter her writing lol.


M. S. Spencer said...

My daughter got mad at ME for abbreviating (or is it "acronyming"?). But with texting & arthritic thumbs I've no shame. Btw, all, the stories in the post are ALL TRUE. I'm still looking for some similar stories for that prize...Meredith

Molly Daniels said...

What drives me crazy is my kids will text me from the living room, instead of walking or calling to me in the kitchen. Do their vocal chords not work anymore?

And kids have forgotten niceties on the phone. "Hello" is replaced by 'What' or 'Hey'; "Goodbye" replaced with 'Whatever' or 'Later' (snap of the phone being closed). And forget "How are you" or even identifying themselves.

M. S. Spencer said...

That is funny, Molly--why just think how much exercise they'd get by walking? You're right: phone manners are a thing of the past, but I love it when my daughter calls me and says, "What's Up?" Pause. I say, "Didn't YOU call ME?" meredith