Category Archives: BLOG

Blogging by Jae

Alaskan Authors

There are a lot of talented authors in the State of Alaska.

I am privileged to know many of them and enjoy being part of the Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime Alaska Chapter and the Alaska Chapter of Romance Writers of America.  (& currently a board member of AKRWA)

he AKRWA website also features blogs written by these wonderful Alaskan Authors & offers links to many of their books – please join us for a review of great reading!

www.akrwa.blogspot.com

(and if you are a writer, please consider entering the Alaska Break Up Contest held annually in the spring.)

http://www.alaskawriters.com/membersites/akrwa/about.html

 

 

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Back to the Future—

—Have we been here before?    

            Some of the most influential inventions of the past have been ground and air travel, computer technology and the development of nuclear power.  Public learning programs, followed by the development of the Internet made available to the masses, educate and enlighten us to soar to amazing heights.

New technology has promoted a transfer of ideas that stimulate the imagination and propagate a vast range of innovative breakthroughs, spurring us on in our quest for the unknown and unexplored.

Travel expands our range of communication, and the development of nuclear technology taps a new source of power in our energy-hungry society that dwarfs the coal-burning days of our grandfather’s time.

This surge of technology is limited only by our archaic fear of the unknown which stirs us to doubt our capabilities and often reject the opportunity to expand our skills; but should we dismiss these fears and speed ahead with cyberspace?

Does an inner voice from our collective past silently raises the question, “Have we been here before?”

BillGates’ empire, and his vision of our future, is driven by the dollar; and human sacrifice is as real as the bloodletting of ancient days.  Our environment is degrading rapidly from the chemical wastes that spill into it as this technology is developed.  It is a common trend for leaders to make choices that sacrifice a segment of their population if they feel it will advance their nation as a whole in the race to be a super power.

From the early days ofRomeandGreecewhen soldiers were sent to march on the front lines as fodder for the weapons of war, leaders have ordered events that were not life-saving for the masses.

Nothing has changed except that now our technological leaders are able to sacrifice us with intangible enemies that destroy us silently without our knowledge.

Civilizations rise and fall, but technology continues to advance, unchecked, marching toward the future with or without the human race.  We continue to explore and expand our knowledge with the balance of power shifting among cultures.

At one timeEngland, likeRome, headed the list of powerful nations with the slogan “The sun never sets on theBritish Empire” reflecting the fact thatEngland’s lands were spread over the entire globe.

Germany, too, and Russia had their day of ruling the world, and each third world country now aspires to own nuclear weapons and become a super power.  This is all due to knowledge shared by our ability to travel and our vast communication system that transfers information with alarming speed.

New scientific data is in the hands of our competitors almost before it leaves the laboratory in which it was discovered and developed; and we seem to be willing to give away arms, funding and technology to a vast array of countries in exchange for what?

We are too quick to communicate our superiority and arm our weaker neighbors with weaponry in the belief that if everyone has the means to destroy humanity as we know it we will keep the threat of nuclear war and annihilation in check.  But what if we lose our ability to travel and communicate, and instantly negotiate?

Presenting a vision of the future without our present technology may serve as a wake-up call to our leaders who thrive on the thrill of living on the edge of destruction.

When all the madmen of third world countries have nuclear power, the risk factor of war is greatly increased.  If we develop our travel technology to the point where we colonize another planet and create living conditions independent of earth, will we be assuring ourselves of rescue if we destroy Mother Earth; or will this new civilization become the advanced oppressors of this planet?

When we destroy our industries and resources with a nuclear holocaust, people will become isolated and develop closed communities in which they hoard their possessions.  They will become suspicious and defensive to anyone who is unknown to them.

As travel and communication cease due to lack of resources people will pool their cultures and beliefs, and cultivate a new set of values conducive to each individual  group, which will separate them further from being a global community.

Without communication and travel, education will become limited and knowledge will decline with each generation until legends and folklore take the place of logic.  People will become superstitious and create rites and rituals to govern their lives in the absence of large scale military protection and government.

We will return to the days of witches and wizards controlled by those wily enough to recognize and maintain convincing skills and powers of manipulation.  This will be aided by the extraterrestrial sightings and ultimate contact by the long-forgotten ancestors who have maintained travel and communication technology.

In time they will conquer the now-backward race of people we have become, and be worshipped as gods from the sky.  When their resources run out they will return to earth permanently with superior technology and enslave the uneducated population that exists here.

Our extraterrestrial relatives will be genetically different from us by then, due to evolving in a different environment.  We will revere them as wise and holy people of another race because they will have maintained the original scientific knowledge that we have lost.

We will split into two species, with one superior to the other.  As humanity comes back together, the inferior species that was left behind will be demoted to pets and decline genetically until they crawl on all four limbs and have only the most rudimentary intelligence and skills.  The earth, having been devastated by nuclear wars, will slowly be reclaimed, but science will be limited.

And the cycle will begin again to develop technology, so that we can go faster and farther and share our weapons of destruction.

The vague memories of our history will fade as we convince ourselves that we are, as always, superior to any living creature; and our illusion of omnipotence will drive us to develop technology in our quest for the unknown and unexplored once again.

Humanity’s over-confidence and greed for power dooms us to repeat history.

Over and over and over again, in an endless cycle that we are not even aware occurs.

What do you think?

 

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IT & Authorship – Not for wimps

  My frustration overflows as I plunge the sinkhole of the internet trying to establish web sites, ‘dot coms’ & author blogs.

Alas, regarding current Information Technology I know only enough to be dangerous.  I am forced to admit that I may need help from someone younger, smarter and/or much more savvy than I when it comes to IT & creating a full compliment of networking.  This hurts.

But on the brighter side, this weekend I acquired a ‘dot com’, an Author blog and an email site without help, in the hope that when they are properly linked my writing will somehow become available on the virtual smorgasboard of the literary buffet in cyberspace – are you hungry for romance and adventure?

As I write this missive I take pride in the fact that I didn’t scramble the above mentioned sites too badly (yet) and that I now semi-exist across said cyberspace with fellow authors in the virtual reality of the novelist’s playground.  Let the games begin.

Tomorrow I will tackle connecting my sites together and hope that I don’t have a nervous breakdown while the links upload.

Welcome to the Age of Information – it’s called Progress.  You’re either on the Success Train, or in the field waving it farewell.

I’m looking forward to the train ride myself and I hate to travel alone – will you join me?    Hop on board and we’ll go wonderful places together!

Take my hand, Dear Reader, and as star-crossed book lovers we’ll wait for each other here, sharing mutual appreciation of the written word.  Join me in the last great race for romance and adventure.  Are you ready for the ride?

I’ll be looking forward to many future rendezvous with you, My Literary Paramour, so watch for me here – I’ll be looking for you!

— Jae Awkins, Author

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Do Not Call List – sign me up!

I am a Night Person.  Mornings are a Grouch Fest for me, since I usually stay up until the wee hours in a creative frenzy.  My Morning People friends don’t understand this but it works for me.

Today was no different, but ‘sleeping in’ was not an option.  Jarred awake about an hour before I usually rise, the telephone started ringing at promptly at 7:54 a.m.

When I answered someone said, “Hi – Jae?  This is Chris.”

The voice addressing me by my first name was not familiar and my fuzzy brain struggled to register the acquaintance. I searched my memory bank for a friend named Chris and came up empty.

“Hi, Chris,” I said, trying to sound happy to hear from him and avoid insult until I figured it out.

“How are you doin’ today?”  Chris asked cheerfully.

“Well, not so good.” I replied honestly since he’d just waked me from a sound sleep.  My friends did call to check up on me occasionally though.  Could Chris be a voice I didn’t recognize in my sleep induced stupor?

“But the weather report says it’s supposed to warm up later, so things are looking up.” I continued, trying to sound positive.

“How’re you doing, Chris?”  Still wondering who Chris could be, I felt I should at least reciprocate with common courtesy.

“I’m doing great!”  He said, a little over the top this time.  “You know, you sound younger every time I talk to you.”  He paused for effect as I replied I didn’t know if I believed there was any truth there.

But before I finished my sentence he cut in and rushed on.  “Hey, you know those light bulbs you got last time?  I can get you a TEN YEAR supply all at once now, isn’t that good news!?”

Light bulbs?  I was silent for a moment.  I searched my memory bank again for a friend named Chris and something to do with light bulbs.

Light bulbs, light bulbs?  Then it hit me.  Oh, THOSE light bulbs.

“Listen, Chris, I can’t afford the light bulbs today.” I chirped back, still inclined toward politeness at this point.

“I’d like to help you out, but as I told you recently when you guys called, I can’t.”  I could hear Chris breathing impatiently on the other end of the line.

“How about just the basic pack.  That’s not much and you could still help out that way.  I know you want to help out, right?”  Chris countered.

I was annoyed at the attempt to ingratiate himself while guilt-tripping me.  I’d venture to say that none of his paycheck went toward the light bulbs he was trying to sell me.

“I truly cannot afford that kind of money for light bulbs now.”  I said again, trying to make my position clearer.  Sure, the over-priced bulbs were for a good cause, but hey, I’m a starving writer on a budget.

Chris had done his homework.  He knew I was already sympathetic as a previous customer in more solvent times.

I started to elaborate on my current situation when Chris interrupted me.

“Look, how about you get the light bulbs this time, then I’ll take your name off our list, ok?”  He was starting to sound desperate, like a timer was ticking.

Take my name off the list?  It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  Oh, Chris was good.

“Well, maybe just the small pack…” I began, hoping we could end the conversation and still part ‘friends’ at some point.

Suddenly, mid-sentence, he cut in again.  “Great!  I’ll transfer you to our accounting department and they’ll take care of you.”  The word “thanks” echoed in my ear and I heard the click as he transferred me.  At least I think it was ‘thanks’ I heard.

I felt insulted.  But worse, I felt ashamed that I only bought the small pack.  Like I’d just let down a friend.

Then I felt angry.  No one likes intimidation.  I reviewed the last ten minutes of my life that I would never get back – Chris was much better at this game than I.

I had succumbed, and I felt cheated.  Most Telemarketers ring off with at least a “ have a nice day”.  I guess in current times the rush to make a buck eliminates the protocol of manners.  Call me old fashioned.

In defense of Chris, he is not the first Telemarketer to end our conversation abruptly.  Some have been downright indignant when I haven’t jumped at the chance to purchase their product, and didn’t hesitate to tell me so.

I ask, is this the new breed of salespeople?  And do they not realize that their future requests will fall on deaf ears with this kind of customer service?  The ‘good cause’ they’re promoting will NOT be foremost in my mind.  Rudeness, insincerity and being duped might.  Chris’s organization is not alone.

Everyone from Christian film makers to the Police Department have jumped on the Telemarketer Band Wagon.  While often representing valued services their methods of fundraising are offensive.  The most irritating calls seem to come from political campaigns or survey offices.  Apparently they consider themselves exempt from any restrictions.

Am I alone in this opinion?

The word ‘Telemarketer’ has become synonymous with ‘pariah’ as people are rallying to just hang up.  Maybe if enough people refuse their call the tactics will become obsolete.  We can hope.

Registering on the National DO NOT CALL List available to consumers (call 1-888-382-1222 or register online at http://www.donotcall.gov) for both my cell and home phone has reduced the number of Telemarketer calls I receive.

It’s too late to return to sleep, so I will be cantankerous (ok, more cantankerous) today.

I do not have Caller ID, so I’ll spend the day wondering if real friends are calling when the phone rings.  I’ll waste time re-evaluating my budget to determine if I am being selfish, only to confirm that light bulbs are a luxury.

How do I get on these call lists anyway?  Telemarketers come and go, but lists are forever.

Is it even possible for Chris to permanently remove me from his list?

I hate it when friends lie to me.

—Jae Awkins, Author

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