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Writing–Live! – San Fran http://socialinsanfrancisco.com Join the Fun! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Stealing Joy: When Others Know They’re Hurting You and Do It Anyway http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/stealing-joy-when-others-know-theyre-hurting-you-and-do-it-anyway/ Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:47:26 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/stealing-joy-when-others-know-theyre-hurting-you-and-do-it-anyway/

SJ

STEALING JOY:  WHEN OTHERS KNOW THEY’RE HURTING YOU AND DO IT ANYWAY

By Vicki Hinze

 

In short:  When Others Feed on Hurting You, Control You

 

We all have our soft underbelly; the one we avoid confrontation with whenever possible.  We’ve been there before, and we know how much it hurts.

Whether we call it someone stabbing us in the back, stepping on our toes or driving nails through our hearts, we get the feeling, and we’ve dealt with the many side-effects.

Joy, like life itself, is a fragile thing.  And it seems we’re all blessed (or cursed) with at least one person in our lives who is hellbent on making sure that they steal ours.  Whenever things are going well, or even when we’re in an unsettled state but we’re cooping well and still finding joy in our lives, in comes that person to steal our joy and make us miserable.

Maybe the thief isn’t getting enough attention.  Maybe s/he’s secretly unhappy and can’t stand the sight of anyone else being joyful in their imperfect life.  Maybe s/he thrives on upset.  Or feels that tearing others down builds them up.  It could be the thief is a control freak and feels threatened by you, so s/he makes it his or her business to not let you be too happy to keep you humble.  Or the thief could just not give a damn.  So what if you’re hurt?  It’s not his or her fault if what s/he wants negatively impacts you.  Or–and this is the worst possible case, of course–the thief takes joy in deliberately hurting you and stealing your joy.

Yes, sad as it is to say, there really are people who thrive and blossom and find happiness in making other people miserable. Particularly people, who for one reason or the other, don’t like them.

When someone steals your joy once, you’re inclined to be forgiving and consider it an accident.  But what if the thief does this over and again?  Always at significant moments, or over events that are significant and meaningful to you?  What do you do then?  How do you cope?

 

OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT.   When you’re on the receiving end of joy stealing, being objective is all but impossible.  Still, we have to do our best or remain a victim.

Try to determine why the thief is stealing your joy.  Only when you grasp their motivation can you deal with the problem constructively.

 

UNDERSTAND THE STAKES.  In these type situations, most often there’s something at risk. Something that puts you between the rock and the hard place.  Whether it’s your job, your reputation, or someone you love.  And you have to understand that cause-and-effect, action-and-reaction is hard at work.

So think through scenarios.  If the thief does this, you do that, where does that leave you?

What do you have at stake and are you willing to lose it?

Sometimes being the victim doesn’t enable you to avoid the penalty.  You’re caught in an emotional blackmail or hostage-type situation.  When the thief does this, anything you do results in the loss of x.  So before you do anything, you need to understand and accept that you well might lose.  Are you willing to live with that loss?

 

CONFRONTATION.  We typically hate it.  Some of us are better at it, more diplomatic, less emotional than others, but normal, healthy and stable people don’t relish confrontation or conflict or the upset both carry along with it.

Yet when our joy is being stolen, we have little choice.  We can step up and deal with the confrontation or allow ourselves to be victims and robbed of joy.

One or the other.  We must choose.  And we must live with our choices.

They’re never easy ones because of what is at stake and the risks of what we can lose.  More often than not, it means a great deal to us or the thief wouldn’t be trying to steal it.  So we must weigh the situation carefully and then choose.

 

CONSEQUENCES.  As unpleasant as confrontation and conflict is, if we’re able to work through it and come out a better place, it’s worth the effort.  Whether or not we’re able to get to that better place isn’t just our choice.  The thief gets a vote, too.  And when s/he weighs in, that vote can take many forms.  Anger, denial, outrage, justification, the false attribution of motives that are supposedly yours that are alien to you–any or all of those reactions are as apt to arise as a peaceful, imperfect solution to the problem or even a resolution with which you can be at peace.

The consequences could be alienation, distance, separation or divorce.  The loss of the job.  The loss of a loved one.

Steep consequences are possible.  Very possible because reason and logic are skewed by emotions in these situations and because our perspectives are a complex network of experiences and events–some of which are related to our interactions with the joy stealer and some that go beyond that relationship and into other areas of our lives.  Things that happened with other people, back when we were kids.  Professional things.  Personal things.

The sum of all our experiences shape our perspective and the lens through which we see the thief and the joy s/he steals.

 

CONTROL.  The bottom line is that we can’t control others’ actions.  We can only control our reactions to their actions.

We can choose to confront or withdraw.  To accept or distance ourselves from the thief.  To try–often for the umpteenth time–to be blunt and honest with the thief, about the pain they’re inflicting in the hope that they will choose not to deliberately hurt us again.  Or we can accept that the thief, regardless of motivation, is going to continue to hurt us and steal our joy and walk away.

In the end, we choose how much control and power over us we give the thief.

It is rarely an easy choice.  Rarely simple or free from many shades of gray.

It is seldom a choice we look forward to making or one we wanted to be placed in the position of having to make.  Yet if we do not, then doing nothing–willingly being the victim–does nothing to resolve the joy-stealing, only adds baggage to it.

So we assess the situation, no matter how much we wish we didn’t have to do it.

We understand the stakes, no matter how much we wish we never had to put things this dear to us at stake.

We endure the confrontation, even if it makes us sick for days or weeks afterward and our hearts yearn for peace.

We steel ourselves and accept the consequences for the course of action we’ve chosen to take, even if enacting it brings certain grief and mourning.

We control ourselves, our actions, making hard choices because we know that while avoiding them would be easier, living with avoiding them would not.

And we endure this, suffer through the upsets and losses we incur stopping the thief because when we look at life, its fragility and brevity–we are here but a moment–we know this truth:

If we are living without joy, we are already dead.

And that penalty is far too costly to pay.  ❧

* * *

 

WRITING--LIVE!

 

© 2005, 2013, 2018, Vicki Hinze.

* * * * * * *

 

lostinc4Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.

 

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Leadership http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/leadership/ Thu, 04 Jan 2018 18:17:42 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/leadership/

Leadership, Vicki Hinze

 

Leadership

By

Vicki Hinze

 

We want, need and even require leadership. It’s essential in a civilized society, in nations, communities, and homes. As individuals, we can’t be experts on everything. We can’t be all and do all. So we seek direction, guidance, and inspiration in others. Those we deem expert or worthy of being leaders.

Leaders walk a fine line. We expect them to be expert and worthy, and yet we know they are human, full of foibles and quirks and as flawed to the core as the rest of us. That creates a paradox of sorts, and leaves mere mortals in a quandry. What, one wonders, must a body be and do to effectively lead?

Probably not as much as you think. It isn’t perfection the masses seek. It’s sincerity. Probably more than you think, considering some who have been tagged leaders in the past, but we’re talking idealistic realism here. Not what we’ve had, but what we yearn to have in those at the helm.

Some say leaders are born. Others say anyone can become a leader. The truth, as history has proven, is somewhere in the middle. Some people are born leaders. They seem tapped into the psyche of the masses and instinctively know what to say or do in given situations. They assume command naturally, not by force, and others are intuitively drawn to them as leaders.

Far more people, however, are those who are informed, engaged, and aware, and their ability to command draws others to them as a result of those attributes. These people are those who rise to the occasion and lead typically due to necessity. We need a leader, they’re capable (if sometimes reluctant) but do what needs doing because they can do it.

Whether born to lead or rising to the occasion, leaders share common traits that others recognize. It’s the recognition of these traits by others that encourages leaders to emerge. Cliff note version of traits follows:

Leaders lead by example. Others see the leaders’ principles and philosophies—what they believe—in not just what they say (talk is cheap) but in what they do (actions carry consequences). And in how they do it.

Leaders say what they mean and mean what they say. They are clear on their vision and their intentions, their goals and objectives. That includes them refusing to disclose their intentions, goals and objectives…when non-disclosure best serves the purpose of achieving and fulfilling their mission.

Leaders do not lie to you. They well may tell you, “I’m not telling you that.” Or, “I’m not telegraphing my plans to the opposition.” But they do not lie.

We understand the wisdom in those kinds of comments and non-disclosures. Beyond that, we’re instilled with confidence in leaders who say these things, because we know by their refusal to disclose that they do have a plan, and the act to not spoil or diminish its success through disclosure has been deemed wise and deliberate.

We’re confident the collective “we won’t be engaging in a bumbling trial-and-error ritual of tossing potential solutions against the proverbial wall to see what sticks” has been avoided. A concrete plan being executed—a sound strategy—always inspires greater confidence than a “We’ll try this and see if it works” approach.

Followers grant leaders this leeway because forethought, mental testing, scenario speculation seated in logic and testing the execution of the plan and its potential outcome—good and bad—have been considered. Had to have been considered or the risks of disclosure and/or non-disclosure would not yet be known. We understand the odds for success and the costs of failure have been weighed.

This projection to us by leadership of preparedness creates an environment for a warm reception from us and that inspires confidence. Confidence is essentional in leaders and required in effective leadership. Speaking, acting with authority and conviction and competence all play a part in encouraging others to place their trust in a leader and to follow that leadership.

It’s a no-brainer that leaders should be honest. Lie once—just once—and a leader’s credibility is shot. Whether justified or not in the leader’s mind, the frgile bond of trust between leader and followers has been violated and broken. Once that breach occurs, then everything—every single thing—a leader has said or done or will say or do is suspect. That unviolated faith in a leader is shattered. It no longer exists.

People understand, “I can’t say. I won’t say.” And they understand, “It’s best for all if I don’t say.” They’ll accept that from a leader if the trust bond is intact. They might grumble and groan, wishing for more information, but they’ll accept it because they trust the leader. If that trust bond has been broken, they will not accept anything but disclosure.

As a leader, there are times and situations where silence and withholding information and actions is required. Mission essential, even. But there is never a time or a situation when honesty is not required.

A couple years ago, the government granted itself the authority to lie to the American people. Propaganda became commonplace. Outright lies, too. Horrific mistake, truly, because what has happened is that now noone trusts anything. Not what they see, what they hear, or what they think. That foolish act violated the trust bond and created a high hurdle that now must be overcome.

A leader living by example, saying what the leader means and meaning what is said who is honest with others fulfills a desire to believe, a yearning to trust in followers, and those qualities inspire naturally. Equally important to the leader, being an honest and trustworthy individual fosters loyalty.

Loyal followers invest in leaders. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. They respect and admire them. They believe in them. They have the leader’s back and trust that the leader has their backs. They believe the leader and his or her actions are driven by a desire to make things better for them. A genuine and not a manufactured desire to make things better for them.

Believing and witnessing these desires being manifested in what leaders say and do, followers then rise up to do what they can do to assist the leader. To fulfill the leader’s needs within the confines of virtues.

Leadership, you see, is a two-way street. And it’s a busy road of communication and working together to achieve mutual goals, and it’s paved with mutal respect. When that respect is given and received, there are fewer potholes, fewer areas of construction, and fewer detours. Respect enables both sides to glide over small imperfections because trust is intact.

The most beloved leaders are those we believe are driven to lead by a desire to improve—people we consider worthy of being followed. And those people, beloved leaders, are always ones driven by principle and virtue. Those foundations rest on rocks not sand. They withstand the tests of time.

Conversely, the absence of those qualities results in the crumbling of those foundations: of institutions and faith in leaders and their leadership. What a mess we have then! But that’s an entirely different subject.

Leaders are not perfect. They’re as tried by life, bear all the flaws and scars as the rest of us. We know this; we are not idealistic children. It is precisely because we are not that we refuse to embrace a leader who lacks integrity, vision and competence, who fails to trust us with the truth. We will never deem a leader as beloved who lacks principles and these virtues.

We might fall for imposters for a time. It happens. But when the truth surfaces—and the truth always does surface—we will soundly reject them. We will process the betrayal and violation of trust, the dishonesty, and be wiser for having been duped. Then we’ll go on, not making the past mistakes in the future. But never again will we embrace the violators.

We’ll be more determined than ever, seeking with vim and vigor, worthy leaders. And we’ll warmly embrace those who espouse the traits we deem essential. Those who prove by their actions and deeds that they respect us as much as we respect them, and who trust us to look beyond the clutter and honest mistakes and judge them fairly.

These leaders, now or later, will be beloved. Because for all our investment in them, they’re investing in us. Not out of necessity, but out of a desire to make lives better.

And that aspiration is worthy of a leader and beautifully encapsulates leadership.

 

 

 

* * * * * * *

Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2018, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Power Talk http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/power-talk-2/ Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:35:45 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/power-talk-2/

vicki hinze, power talk  

POWER TALK

By

Vicki Hinze

   

We all know that storytelling is an art. Some are good at it. Some are better. And some are works-in-progress who need a little more training in specific areas of craft, like pacing.

 

There are perks to slowing the pace. Building suspense, fostering anticipation, and making people hang onto every word, eager to hear what happens next. Those are useful tools that can best serve a story.

 

But in today’s climate, we should also be aware that people are moving at a frantic pace, and while they might read to relax and be entertained, they don’t read to be bored by the slow moving pace of a novel.

 

I remember years ago, COLD MOUNTAIN (CM), was released. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of thrillers and suspense. I like action and lots of it in a book. I bought CM because so many raved about it being a wonderful story. I waded, then slogged through the first five or so chapters and gave up. I passed the book on to someone I thought would enjoy it. For me, it didn’t work. The description of every bit of flora and fauna had my eyes rolling back in my head. Well written, well researched, but the pacing was incredibly slow for my tastes.

 

As the book gained momentum and began winning some prestigious awards I respected, I thought, maybe it was my mood at the time I’d tried to read, and so I bought the book again. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen, but again slogged through descriptions to the point I lost focus. I gave up trying to read CM for the second time.

 

And then the movie came out. I watched it… and loved the movie. The plot was twisted and intricate, the characters deep and realistic—it was terrific.

 

Imagine that, I thought. Just imagine that.

 

I’m accustomed to enjoying the book much more than the movie, so this was a welcome surprise.

 

Fast forward a number of years. To just recently, in fact. A dear friend and I were discussing a totally unrelated non-fiction project. This project requires a lot of research, and we mentioned two researchers we respect and admire. Both are meticulous and excellent at what they do, but in relaying their findings and conclusions to others, they’re so slow to get to the point that we both react with similar sentiments. Mine: “Spit it out already.” Hers, by far more diplomatic: “Power Talk it.”

 

Power Talk?

 

Have you ever been to a meeting or a lecture where the speaker talks very slowly and adds so much unrelated and extraneous stuff that the point is lost. You kind of fall into a glazed-eyed mental slumber and just doze with your eyes wide open?

 

That’s the anthesis of—and proves the benefit of—power talk. Get to the point while people are attentive and conscious: Boom! Mess around until they go eye-glazed comatose: Fizzle.

 

Clearly, there are times in a novel when you want to lull people into a false sense of complacency so that when you zing the character, the reader really feels it. But if you dally too long, the zing fades to a fizzle. The power has left the talk.

 

It’s hard to gauge when to speed things up and when to slow them down. Pacing gives a lot of writers and readers fits. We learn the craft aspects of it—when and how to slow and speed up pacing. But in the actual story… determining how much is enough, or too little or too much, is an instinctive reaction to what is being written or read.

 

Sometimes our instincts are on target. Sometimes we miss a little or a lot. And it isn’t only in books, reading or writing, that pacing can help or hinder us.

 

Years ago, I was the director of operations for a corporate chain. The boss had weekly meetings. They were scheduled to last fifteen minutes but always extended. Sometimes to thirty minutes and sometimes to an hour.

 

What needed saying could be said in ten minutes. The rest was just watercooler chat. Everyone hated those meetings but agreed that we needed the ten minutes’ worth. Subtly telling the boss we needed to keep it short did no good. He was an agreeable sort and enjoyed a good chat, which is lovely, but not productive when everyone sat on lengthy to-do lists. So we calculated how much money each meeting was costing the company—per week, per month, per year.

 

We got twenty minute, monthly meetings. Everyone was happier. What changed?

 

Our boss learned to Power Talk.

 

We can apply Power Talk to our lives in so many ways, including in our internal dialogue–the way we speak to ourselves–and even in our prayer lives. In doing so, we find we intensify our focus, become clearer and more precise–more effective in our communications.  That benefits us and all in our circle.

 

And, as I write this, my mind expands on this concept.  Infuse power into your beliefs, your convictions. Strengthen your clarity on your ideas, your projects. Engage in more effective, more productive communications.

Power Talk.

 

* * * * * * *


Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Power Talk http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/power-talk/ Thu, 07 Dec 2017 14:02:27 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/power-talk/

vicki hinze, power talk  

POWER TALK

By

Vicki Hinze

   

We all know that storytelling is an art. Some are good at it. Some are better. And some are works-in-progress who need a little more training in specific areas of craft, like pacing.

There are perks to slowing the pace. Building suspense, fostering anticipation, and making people hang onto every word, eager to hear what happens next. Those are useful tools that can best serve a story.

But in today’s climate, we should also be aware that people are moving at a frantic pace, and while they might read to relax and be entertained, they don’t read to be bored by the slow moving pace of a novel.

I remember years ago, COLD MOUNTAIN (CM), was released. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of thrillers and suspense. I like action and lots of it in a book. I bought CM because so many raved about it being a wonderful story. I waded, then slogged through the first five or so chapters and gave up. I passed the book on to someone I thought would enjoy it. For me, it didn’t work. The description of every bit of flora and fauna had my eyes rolling back in my head. Well written, well researched, but the pacing was incredibly slow for my tastes.

As the book gained momentum and began winning some prestigious awards I respected, I thought, maybe it was my mood at the time I’d tried to read, and so I bought the book again. I kept waiting and waiting for something to happen, but again slogged through descriptions to the point I lost focus. I gave up trying to read CM for the second time.

And then the movie came out. I watched it… and loved the movie. The plot was twisted and intricate, the characters deep and realistic—it was terrific.

Imagine that, I thought. Just imagine that.

I’m accustomed to enjoying the book much more than the movie, so this was a welcome surprise.

Fast forward a number of years. To just recently, in fact. A dear friend and I were discussing a totally unrelated non-fiction project. This project requires a lot of research, and we mentioned two researchers we respect and admire. Both are meticulous and excellent at what they do, but in relaying their findings and conclusions to others, they’re so slow to get to the point that we both react with similar sentiments. Mine: “Spit it out already.” Hers, by far more diplomatic: “Power Talk it.”

Power Talk?

Have you ever been to a meeting or a lecture where the speaker talks very slowly and adds so much unrelated and extraneous stuff that the point is lost. You kind of fall into a glazed-eyed mental slumber and just doze with your eyes wide open?

That’s the anthesis of—and proves the benefit of—power talk. Get to the point while people are attentive and conscious: Boom! Mess around until they go eye-glazed comatose: Fizzle.

Clearly, there are times in a novel when you want to lull people into a false sense of complacency so that when you zing the character, the reader really feels it. But if you dally too long, the zing fades to a fizzle. The power has left the talk.

It’s hard to gauge when to speed things up and when to slow them down. Pacing gives a lot of writers and readers fits. We learn the craft aspects of it—when and how to slow and speed up pacing. But in the actual story… determining how much is enough, or too little or too much, is an instinctive reaction to what is being written or read.

Sometimes our instincts are on target. Sometimes we miss a little or a lot. And it isn’t only in books, reading or writing, that pacing can help or hinder us.

Years ago, I was the director of operations for a corporate chain. The boss had weekly meetings. They were scheduled to last fifteen minutes but always extended. Sometimes to thirty minutes and sometimes to an hour.

What needed saying could be said in ten minutes. The rest was just watercooler chat. Everyone hated those meetings but agreed that we needed the ten minutes’ worth. Subtly telling the boss we needed to keep it short did no good. He was an agreeable sort and enjoyed a good chat, which is lovely, but not productive when everyone sat on lengthy to-do lists. So we calculated how much money each meeting was costing the company—per week, per month, per year.

We got twenty minute, monthly meetings. Everyone was happier. What changed?

Our boss learned to Power Talk.

We can apply Power Talk to our lives in so many ways, including in our internal dialogue–the way we speak to ourselves–and even in our prayer lives. In doing so, we find we intensify our focus, become clearer and more precise–more effective in our communications.  That benefits us and all in our circle.

And, as I write this, my mind expands on this concept.  Infuse power into your beliefs, your convictions. Strengthen your clarity on your ideas, your projects. Engage in more effective, more productive communications.

Power Talk.

 

* * * * * * *


Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Benefits of an Open Mind http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/benefits-of-an-open-mind/ Thu, 30 Nov 2017 16:10:02 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/benefits-of-an-open-mind/

Benefits of an Open Mind, Vicki Hinze, Social In Global Network  

Benefits of an Open Mind

 

By

 

Vicki Hinze

   

 

People need ideas. And inspiration. Both require an open mind. Both require critical thinking, analysis, and a willingness to see not one but both sides of any coin.

 

That isn’t to say you must agree or disagree. It is to say that you must do your best to hear and listen, and to strive to objectively see all sides of a given thing, issue, or situation.

 

Total objectivity is an impossibility, of course. We all develop mindsets early on, and when we approach the table to look at anything with objectivity, we don’t suddenly leave thosse mindsets behind. They come with us because they are a part of us.

 

Yet we can be aware that those mindsets are ours. That they might color our perspective or our view. And that inspires us to attempt to give lesser weight to aspects of things in which we hold bias.

 

That isn’t a license to ignore them, to rubber stamp them, or to ignore the impact that our predispositions hold. It is a warning to us to make a conscious effort to substantiate our positions, our conclusions.

 

It’s incredibly important—critically important, actually—to know what we believe and why we believe it. Without the why, we lack conviction. Without knowing what we believe… Well, we fall for anything. We follow the paths of those who have come before us blindly. And a blindly followed pathway leads to destruction of the unique individuality infused in each of us. Why?

 

Because we forfeit understanding ourselves, understanding that which we blindly follow. We accept for unknown reasons that which someone else suggests or insists we believe. That never ends well for the individual.

 

An open mind means we challenge. Things. Issues. Beliefs. Ourselves. It means we seek to prove and to disprove. To understand not just the big picture but the subtlities of any given thing. When we do, the end result is that we know what we believe and why we believe it. Knowledge is power. We are confident in our decision and convicted.

 

That’s the benefit of an open mind.

 

Sometimes we’ll challenge a belief and at the end of our journey, it remains steadfast. We enjoy the benefit of knowing the belief was tested and withstood the challenge.

 

Sometimes we’ll challenge a belief and discover something during our journey that alters or changes our belief. At the end of the journey, we enjoy the benefit of knowing we challenged and tested the belief and discovered some new insight or gem of wisdom that brought us closer to the truth.

 

And sometimes we’ll challenge a belief and neither prove nor disprove anything. We might be okay with that, or we might feel as if we’re still sitting on the fence with the doubts or concerns that made us challenge the belief still unresolved. In that situation, our doubt and concern is simply a signal to us that we need to keep searching, keep exploring, keep digging for truths that settle our concerns and doubts and to keep our mind open to all possibilities.

 

At times, an open mind is uncomfortable. It demands we look at things differently, accept things we’d rather not. It challenges back, forces us to see truths we don’t want to see. But the point to always remember is this: Truth is truth. It never stays hidden because being hidden is more comfortable for that which it opposes. Under camouflage, buried, or disguised doesn’t change it. Truth remains. And truth prevails.

 

We’ve all heard the old saying about sunlight being the best disinfectant. We’ve heard the saying that in the end, the truth will win. What we might not have heard is that the only way to find the truth and not be blindsided by it is to have an open mind…and to use it.

 

No matter how uncomfortable or odd or strange, seek and discover the truth. Truth has been and always will be the route to freedom. It is where wisdom resides. Where hope and faith reside. Do you reside there? You can, if you so choose, by claiming the benefits of an open mind.

   

* * * * * * *

Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com;. Facebook;. Books;. Twitter;. Contact.; Subscribe; to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!  GAB

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Reading Places http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/reading-places/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:37:11 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/reading-places/

Reading Places by Tara Randel, vicki hinze, christians Read

 

Reading Places

by

Tara Randel

 

Yesterday I was part of a Facebook party. I posed the question, where was your favorite place to read when you were a child?

 

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do during the summer was to go outside and read. For most kids my age, summer reading was a real chore. Not for me. There were trees on the side of the house and I used to throw out a blanket and sit under the shade, losing myself for hours in faraway places with compelling characters who captured my attention. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the breeze, smell the freshly cut grass and feel of the book pages. I still love to read and can be swept away pretty much anywhere I open a book.

 

I started reading with the Bobbsey Twins. Remember Nan and Bert, Flossie and Freddie? Then I moved on to Nancy Drew. I was always drawn to mysteries or, when I got older, a good romance story. I can’t recall the hours I spent in the library during the summer, leaving the building with a stack of books in my arms. I either ended up locked in my bedroom, lounging on on my bed as I poured through a book, or back outside under the trees. What is it about fresh air and reading going hand in hand?

 

When I got to college I really didn’t have time to read anything but school books. Not exactly page-turners, but for that period of time, very important, so I buckled down and stayed away from fiction.

 

My husband is also a big reader, so when we got married we exchanged mysteries or thrillers. Then the kids came along and although I kept up my reading habit, I also read to the girls from the time they were babies. They never complained when I plopped them in the wagon and lugged them to the library. It opened up a whole new world of reading for them.

 

The backyard is still a place I  love to curl up with a good book.

 

and then there’s the beach…

 

Today I spend my days creating stories, but at night, I still hold a book in my hands. My husband laughs and asks how I can read after spending the day looking at the computer screen while writing my own book. I tell him, I’m reading someone else’s novel and it helps me relax. I couldn’t imagine a life without books. How about you?

 

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Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifteen novels. Family values, a bit of mystery and, of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. She is currently working on new stories for Harlequin Heartwarming, The Business of Weddings series, as well as books in the Amish Inn Mysteries. Visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at Tara Randel Books

 

 

 

 

 

Reprinted by agreement with Vicki Hinze’s Special Project christiansread.com.

 

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What Offends Us Today http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/what-offends-us-today/ Thu, 19 Oct 2017 16:27:00 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/what-offends-us-today/

Vicki Hinze, What Offends Us Today

 

What Offends Us Today

By

Vicki Hinze

 

 

The world has changed.  People… not so much.  We all laugh and cry, are happy and sad.  We all get angry and other people hurt our feelings.  Sometimes they mean to, sometimes they don’t, but pain is pain either way.

 

The thing is, we can’t all walk around looking for things to be offended by; enough offense finds us on its own. And when you get down below all the clutter and noise, this is the truth:  We’re all the same. We all bleed red. We all offend and, at times, we’re all offended.

 

Some blame parents. When both work to pay the bills and aren’t hyper-focused on parenting, the family/kids suffer. When the family breaks down, the parent(s) aren’t sufficiently parenting, and the family/kids suffer.  Logically, we know we’re not super human. Parents with many obligations must divide their time and resources. In single parent households, the parent is often so busy keeping a roof over heads and food on the table, s/he can’t be or do everything he or she would like to do. Same goes for households where both parents are working.

 

The bottom line is parents are human. And even the best parent in the world, trying as hard as s/he can to be a great parent, is going to fall short and screw up. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent and no such thing as a perfect child. While we all have things in common, we’re all unique individuals, which means we have different needs, too. So we muddle through and parent(s) and children do their best. They succeed some and fail some and most hope and pray a lot that they succeed more than they fail.

 

Sometimes we forget that. We are bitter and angry because we’re not getting what we want or need. Or what we think we want or need. Sometimes we’re right about that—we aren’t getting what we need—but sometimes we’re not right. We’re looking at ourselves and not at all sides of the situation. We’re offended because we feel slighted. Because our world, as we envision what it should be, isn’t. We want our vision and don’t have it, so we’re resentful. And too often we decide that shortfall is someone else’s fault. We cast blame, yet blame only complicates the challenges. And that brings us to the lesson mom (or dad) should have and might not have taught us.

 

That lesson deals with maturity. Mature people look at situations from all perspectives, through eyes that don’t blame but access.  Only after assessing can one seek constructive solutions to any challenge.

 

One constructive solution is to realize, accept and understand that what seems really important at the moment likely isn’t important, or isn’t important long-term. That doesn’t mean there’s no value in it. It means there’s something to be learned about that value, and it’s what you learn and not the event offering the lesson that most matters.

 

Before you spiral into depression, ask yourself if you’re going to remember this event in five years. Is it going to change you forever? Should you be that angry, that devastated, that offended by it?

 

The thing is, most of the situations that really upset us are short-term. We need to remind ourselves that everything is not a crisis.  We also need to remind ourselves that if we’re old enough and mature enough to think about things in this way, we’re old enough and mature enough to know we can reason through the challenge.

 

We don’t wake up at eighteen or twenty-one with judgment. We develop it over our entire lives. Some things work well. We want to repeat them. Some things don’t work at all. We want to avoid repeating them. We have to learn. It is our good and bad experiences that shape us into the adults we become.

 

Sometimes people aren’t available for us. That’s reality. Sometimes they are dealing with issues and trials and obstacles we have no idea exist. The point is, others have lives, too, and their lives are demanding, just as ours are. Sometimes we know what they’re going through and sometimes we don’t. Some people consider specific things too personal to share. They don’t want to share, don’t want to burden others with their troubles. They want to protect others. They want to forget. If we remember that we never know someone else’s whole story, and we view their actions and what they say through that prism, we have deeper compassion for them and we are less inclination to be offended.

 

Being offended is easy. The problem is that what offends one person doesn’t offend others. We all bring our own gifts and baggage to every table. And what’s in that baggage and those gifts are different. Today, we find more focus levied on being offended rather than on celebrating a diverse variety of gifts and understanding a plethora of baggage.

 

At times, it is impossible not to offend others. It’s impossible to live in a place shared with others where what offends is universal because the things deemed offensive are not universal. Oh, we pretty much agree that things like murder, theft, and abuse are offensive. But today, rightly or wrongly, people are offended by so much more.  It is common for what one person holds dear and cherishes to be deemed offensive by another.

 

The thing is when you live in a country that celebrates the freedom of speech and expression and choice, and you claim those freedoms, then you must also accept the responsibility to not infringe on those rights as they relate to others.

 

The responsibility part is one many of us seem to forget or ignore. Instead, we embrace the privileges and shun the responsibilities. Unfortunately, that isn’t the way it works. It is fair to the embracer and unfair to all others, who equally share the privilege and responsibility.

 

The lesson from from all of this on offending and being offended is this:

 

Nothing in life is all about you and what you want or need.  Those things are important, but no more or less than what others want or need. Everyone is equally important. And everyone has rights and responsibilities. They are a package deal, and one does not exist without the other.

 

To coexist peacefully, mutual respect is required.  Not warranted. Not an aspiration. Not an ideal. Required.

 

This requirement insists we seek to coexist peacefully. To understand and view actions and events honestly with understanding, compassion and mutual respect.

 

This requirement insists we seek to not be offended—and that is the lesson Mom should have taught you about what offends us today…and every day.

 

 

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Vicki Hinze, Author News

© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tale of Two Men: Online Behavior http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/tale-of-two-men-online-behavior/ Thu, 12 Oct 2017 16:21:49 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/tale-of-two-men-online-behavior/

Vicki Hinze, Tale of Two Men, Online Behavior

 

A Tale of Two Men

Studying Online Behavior

by

Vicki Hinze

 

In the past year, I’ve watched a tale of two men unfold on social media. Actually, it is still unfolding. I won’t get specific because it’s political, and politics is not the focus, or the reason for the close observation.

The focus is on the character of two men, and how others react to them. The emotions they evoke, the loyalty they conjure, the inspiration they offer. I wanted to see how bonds form between people who have never met. I’ve spent over a year studying this, because it’s a significant thing in today’s society and that makes it significant to any writer who creates stories that emulate real life.

I expected attachments. We get interested and involved, we empathize and care for those with whom we associate and relate. And we form snap and hostile opinions toward those who treat them unfairly. Our initial instinct is to jump in and defend—and many do. But just as many respond with an emoji laughing, weeping, or expressing their agreement or disagreement. Sometimes elegantly, sometimes vulgarly, but nearly always bluntly and with an honesty often tempered when interacting with someone face-to-face.

And then there are those who don’t respond, but because you’ve been watching them you can clearly imagine their reaction. They’re smiling like Cheshire cats or rolling their eyes heavenward on the other side of their screens because they know better or because they’re fed up or amused that someone is so far off-base.

Doing such research isn’t for the feint of heart or those who require coddling. You see and hear raw emotional reactions, all the things people used to think but never say. There’s something about the anonimity of being behind a screen that emboldens some to just spill every thought that flows through their mind without a hint of internal censor. In that way, it’s uncivilized a lot of the time. But it’s also fascinating to see unfiltered thoughts. Those too are critical for realism in writing.

Interestingly, we find the range of emotions and emotional reactions we see in everyday off-line life. Trust, faith, compassion. Betrayal, backstabbing, dishonesty. Social-climbing, spin, lies and everything else in between. We also see great acts of love, small and enormously huge kindnesses. We see a full cross-section of humanity. It’s messy. So are we.

The only reason I included all of this in this article is to share an open-eyed assessment of some of my observations. Bottom line: When online, beware. All the good and bad in off-line life exists online also. And online we lack the intuitive responses of body language, tone inflections, and visual hints to guide us to judgments on honesty and deception.

That said, I’ve watched some people for a long, long time now, and when you do that, you glean insights into those individuals’ character. Good is still easy to spot—and actions bear it out, confirming goodness. Evil is a bit trickier because ulterior motives are often at work. Like in life, few are pure evil, but if they are, they are easy to spot (and to stay away from). Actions speak most loudly, so watch and see how people treat others. How they respond to others. And that brings me to my tale of two men…

These men, A and B, are competitors. One, A, risked everything to start an online business and is moderately successful but struggling. B chose another path and revealed hints of nefarious practices and an absence of character. But only hints.

Both men have loyal followings, supporters who stand with them, and, staunchly defend when criticism arises—and it often does. That’s normal for online, where emotions are heated and typically raw.

In glimpses, we see A speak frankly about his struggles. Not in a ‘poor me’ kind of way, but in a ‘these are the facts and they’re often not pretty but they are real’ kind of way. In B we get more of the ‘poor me’ glimpses, and diversionary tactics employed to change the subject when the heat gets too hot.

Observers don’t miss the glimpses and they call the men out. A defends his positions and actions. B can’t.

Some would simplify this tale as a classic battle of good versus evil. That wouldn’t be an inaccurate assessment. And yet we see A, who struggles to get things right, to hold back what does or could do harm, often get the proverbial short end of the stick while B, who simply doesn’t act responsibly, seems to flourish.

Isn’t that the way of it? Good suffers and evil flourishes?

In life, the watchers tend to avoid those behaving irresponsibly. We recognize truth-tellers and gravitate to them and away from the opportunists with ulterior motives. So sometimes we see the fallout created and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we see the reckoning.

Online, it’s more difficult to determine truth-tellers. Some who are not truth-tellers are very good at deception. But eventually they out themselves and then there is a reckoning. Observing, we see it unfold. The deceptive tapestry woven begins to unravel and gaping holes appear. In those holes, the truth is exposed.

When that reckoning comes, an explosion of emotion in others comes with it. A is vindicated. Those loyal followers are vindicated to themselves and others—truth has verified their faith in this human being was and is just. B is exposed, disgraced, and despised by those who always opposed him. His loyal followers are shocked by the deception, angry, incredibly disappointed, and suffer a very real and intense sense of betrayal that reshapes their perspective on not only B but on all he espoused.

These emotional reactions are all real. The impact on the people having them is real. And, as in off-line experiences, these online experiences do alter perceptions and views in people overall—on or off-line.

That impact, I think surprises some people, but it shouldn’t. The anonymity of online removes or lowers guards and filters. Assumptions that others are acting under the standards we hold dear are made. False assumptions. People conduct themselves according to their own standards, not to ours, but online that is easier to forget.

My intent in sharing this article was two-fold. First, to speak honestly about some of what we see in social media, and secondly, to share the tale of the two men. In reading this, I see I have done the first and fallen shy on the second, so let me sum it up:

A is a man of character who struggles, expects to struggle and holds himself accountable to the highest possible standards by just about anyone’s measure. He is for truth. Whatever it is, it is, and the chips fall where they may. He is responsible, and will not share info that he determines could put others in jeopardy or cause harm. Admirable and noble and—and this is what makes him incredibly special—unassuming. He doesn’t shine in limelight or enjoy huge financial rewards. He’s just a good man doing what he believes in and what he is convinced is right. (In many ways, this makes him a hero.)

B is a man of questionable character who is bent on fortune and fame and willingly uses whatever, whenever, however to do it…subtly. He is for himself. And if he must use another or twist the truth to manufacture benefit to himself through sensationalism or other less than honorable means, so be it. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day and, when he can, he exploits that to seed favor with his loyalists. He’s rewarded greatly. He’s a man out to make a name for himself and to secure a future that offers what he sees as the best of everything—mostly reliant on money—and he, he believes, richly deserves it all. If he has to knock-out and walk over a few bodies to get there, okay.

My point is we each have to decide which kind of person we want to be. These aren’t decisions only these two men face. We all face them.

I’m reminded of the tax collector who became an Apostle. A man hated for doing his duty, his job. A man tapped on the shoulder by Christ and asked, “Will you?” That man said, “Yes, I will,” and he did. His life was never idyllic or easy. He struggled mightily and he wasn’t always treated with the dignity and respect he deserved. But he did amass loyal followers. He did accomplish his mission through his life’s work. Was he “successful?” Well, he changed not only his life but the lives of countless others—then and ever since, including today. That’s significant success, wouldn’t you say?

And I’m reminded of Judas, the betrayer who sold his soul for thirty pieces of silver. His reckoning came, and he ended up hanging himself. He discovered he had a conscience, after all, and the magnimity of his actions proved too much for him to bear. It’s noteworthy that those who recruited Judas lied to him—Jesus wasn’t to be harmed—but he was harmed. That “safety” assurance, no doubt, acted as salve to the wound in Judas’s conscience that permitted him to betray Christ. But the harm to Christ was Judas’s reckoning. And the burden of his part in it was too much for Judas to endure.

I’m not saying B will suffer a similar fate or that he should. I hope and pray he doesn’t. I hope and pray he examines his goals and aspirations, weighs the spiritual impact of them, and makes a serious course correction.

I am saying the observation offers an opportunity for all of us to see the value of taking action. We should weigh the spiritual impact of our actions on ourselves and on others. None of us are islands, right? The Apostle proved an ordinary person can have an extraordinary, lasting effect.

So that’s the tale of two men and a snippet of what I’ve observed people-watching online. I do want to say that I’ve met some fantastic people I have come to care about a great deal. And in case you’re wondering if there are any great people left in this chaotic world, I can assure you there are. Many great people both off and online.*

 

 

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Vicki Hinze, free book© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fog of War: Las Vegas http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/fog-of-war-las-vegas/ Thu, 05 Oct 2017 14:53:34 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/fog-of-war-las-vegas/

Vicki Hinze, Fog of War, Las Vegas Massacre

 

Fog of War: Las Vegas

By

Vicki Hinze

 

Like most, I’ve never been in a war zone. I have had loved ones—at times, two members of my immediate family—in a war zone. The things the mind does to you during that time is merciless. The constant fear for your loved ones, the edgy nerves that cause you to jump every time the phone or doorbell rings. The inability to focus on other things… it never stops.

During the Las Vegas Massacre, through video and personal accounts, many of us glimpsed what it’s like to actually be in a war zone. And while we never want to be there or glimpse such an atrocity again, the experience does grant us an opportunity to gain some insights that offer us clarity. With it comes empathy and compassion and, yes, outrage at the horror inflicted and lives torn apart and forever altered. We witness man’s inhumanity to man.

We also witnessed the worst and best in us. A person on Twitter condensed the video of the real-time discussion between command and the officers on the ground wearing bodycams. The footage was up-close, in your face, and horrific. People running, screaming, diving for cover, unsure of where to go that was safe, tripping over bodies and people stooped and bent, trying to save the lives of those fallen. Pandemonium reigned chaos. Terror and shock: a war zone.

I watched the video three times. Not because I’m fond of seeing terrorized people in crisis, but because I had to work beyond my own emotional reaction to  witness the fog of war. Events were unfolding at such a rapid pace it was impossible to digest and absorb so much sensory input at once.

Repetition permitted emotional distance, and it became more and more evident to me why the fog cannot be avoided, and why it is the birthplace of conspiracy theories.

An officer gets to a specific gate and sees bloody people. He radios in an active shooter. It’s logical. Reasonable. But there was no active shooter at that location. The officer didn’t lie. He reported an educationed, logical deduction based on his perception and experience. Wounded and bleeding people means someone had to shoot them. Those listening to his report made deductions based on their experience and perception of his report. If the officer radioed in an active shooter, then there was an active shooter present, evidenced by blood-soaked victims. Literally. Again. No one lied. They just perceived their observations based on their experience and knowledge and natural deductions. That birthed the multiple shooters theory.

Victims scattered.  Similar reports occurred in a variety of locations both inside and outside the hotel. All people were acting in good faith and deducing the reality of events they were encountering by engaging their own perceptions—what they were seeing, hearing, thinking, and feeling. We all process our perceptions differently but in ways normal to us. And when we do, our perceptions stick firmly in our minds. That forms our perception, and our perception is our truth.

It’s been a few days now since the terrorist attack occurred. Some conspiracy theories born that night in the fog of war have been examined, explained and put to rest. One that persists is that there was a second shooter firing from the 4th floor, below the known shooter on the 32nd floor.

Why has it persisted? Let’s take a closer look…

The first video I viewed connected to this theory showed huge plumes of roiling smoke at the windows on both the 32nd and the 4th floors. But there were differences. The smoke above lingered. The 32nd floor window was shattered. The smoke on the 4th floor did not linger and the window was not broken. That dispelled a second shooter on the 4th floor firing upon the crowd, yet word that the 2nd shooter had been proven beyond doubt continued to spread. People witnessed, perceived and believed there was a second shooter there.

Then came word that the fire alarm had gone off on the 32nd floor. The smoke generated from all the firing triggered it. And that fire alarm resulted in strobe lights going off in guest rooms—a safety feature to warn hearing-impaired guests. With open draperies in the room on the 4th floor, the strobe lights could be seen from the ground. A guy who worked across the street said he’d seen this strobe light occurrence happen before. When the strobe-light factor was later reported, for many, it solved the mystery of the 4th floor.

But it didn’t resolve the perceptions for all. For some people, the 2nd shooter theory on the 4th floor persisted. Eventually, the media noted that two buildings across the street had mirror-type facades. Some deemed the 4th floor smoke and firing perceived from the ground and on video a reflection of the 32nd floor firings. The image on the 32nd floor had reflected off the mirrored façade of the building across the street and shone back onto the 4th floor. No broken windows on the 4th floor supported that deduction, and the reflection explanation sufficed for some—yet not fully for others.

Yet another speculative theory surfaced. Camera distortion. The lense of the camera taking the photographs, making the video, distorted the image and made the 32nd floor firing also appear below on the 4th floor.

And so, when assured by authorities there was but one shooter and no evidence of a second shooter on the 4th floor, the theory of the 4th floor, second shooter lost steam. As of now, a few holdouts remain who believe there was one. They’re clinging to their own perceptions and deductions—their truth.

The 4th floor 2nd shooter was a microcosm of a single event experienced by many people who witnessed it and drew different conclusions. All earnestly seeking the truth, all acting in good faith. All seeking a logical explanation for the discrepancies between what they perceived and deduced and what they were being told by others.

In 1928, Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. That quote came to mind and stayed. Yet these untruths were not intentional deceptions or misdirections or manipulations. The truth casualties were a direct result of conflicts in perceptions and deductions. Knowing that made it easy to understand why eye-witness accounts aren’t always accurate or reliable or absolute.

This one segment of the larger event showed us how, say, five people can witness the exact same thing at the exact same time and see totally different things. Each person, in his or her own mind, deems specific details of all available details important. And those selected details deemed important claim his or her focus. It is on those specific and important details that the individual makes his or her deductions and perceives the whole segment that becomes his or her truth.

This event made clear the reason it takes time to sort through and study evidence. The reason why we cannot immediately get firm answers and know what happened. Why it’s imperative that hard evidence and logic be applied to every single assertion and be reasoned through and proven or disproven. Distance from high anxiety and heated emotion is essential. Taking the time necessary to appropriately process is wise and critical. Only with this reasoned process in place can one have confidence that what is presented as fact is fact.

If an authority asserts a fact, it must be accurate. If not, then every assertion made is riddled with doubt. Avoiding the creation of doubt—getting it right—is vital. That, bluntly put, takes time and multiple reviews by many sets of knowledgable eyes.

Long ago, I was warned: In a crisis, doubt all news for the first forty-eight hours. Now, I know why—in ways that before this event I could have been told but never would have fully grasped. Experience teaches.

In ways, this event both proved and cleared the fog of war.

 

 

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Vicki Hinze, free book© 2017, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of over thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Marked Star, Vicki Hinze

 

 

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IN HER OWN WORDS: HOW MARGARET DALEY COMES UP WITH HER STORIES http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/in-her-own-words-how-margaret-daley-comes-up-with-her-stories/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:07:20 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/in-her-own-words-how-margaret-daley-comes-up-with-her-stories/

In Her Own Words

by

Vicki Hinze

 

Readers ask. Editors ask. And other writers ask:  How do you come up with your stories?

The answer is simple, and complex. It’s different for every writer. Unique to that writer. For some, it’s like a movie that plays in their head. For others, a character bursts to life in their mind and the writer follows to see what happens. For others, they see or hear something that impacts them emotionally.  Powerful things, emotions.

For me, it’s typically something that infuriates me, or that scares me out of my socks. But that isn’t the case for many writers. So I thought it’d be beneficial to writers to know how another writer comes up with her stories.

What follows is republished with permission by ChristiansRead.com and is written by Margaret Daley, the USA Today bestselling author of over 105 books.  Here’s what she has to say on the subject… in her own words:

How Do I Come Up with My Stories

By

Margaret Daley

One of the questions I’ve been asked by readers is how I come up with a new story. Honestly, there are times I really don’t know how. Something just pops into my mind—a seed of an idea. I’ll think about the concept. Sometimes, it will grow quickly. Other times, slowly.

When I came up with the premise (theme of the story), I then sketched out a characterization for each of the main characters. As I dig deeper into the story, that sketch will become more detailed (background information). I start writing with a sense of what the opening chapter or two will be like. I have a framework for my story, but I don’t know all the details. I know what the ending will be, but usually I don’t know who the villain is until I’ve written a good portion of the story. I set up several people with the thought they may be the villain. This last book, I thought I knew who would do it but changed it at the halfway mark when another character shouted he was the saboteur.

My new release this month is Deadly Secrets, the 10th romantic suspense and last book in my Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Series. I was excited about the premise of this story. I wanted to have a story about a past relationship that ended when the heroine left the hero at the altar. What would make a woman leave the man she loved the day she was to marry him? Then I wanted to explore what would happen when years later they would have to work together to save several kidnapped women—one the heroine’s niece. This story is charged with a lot of emotions and fast, heart pounding action. Deadly Secrets was hard to write. I had to dig down emotionally to show the tough path both the heroine and hero went through. But also, I had to keep the suspense and action going at the same time. I felt as though I went through the wringer. By the time I finished the story, I was mentally exhausted and so ready to take some time off to fuel my creativity.

The only conclusion I’ve come up with through this process of creating a story is that God is my muse. There are times I’m stumped with no solution to a problem. Then out of the blue an idea pops into my mind. Even I am baffled by my creative process. I wish I had a simple answer to how my story ideas come to me. I’m just thankful they do.

 

Deadly Secrets Final small

 

Blurb for Deadly Secrets in the Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations Series

Secrets. Murder. Reunion.

Sarah St. John, an FBI profiler, finally returns home after fifteen years for her niece’s wedding. But in less than a day, Sarah’s world is shattered when her niece is kidnapped the night before her vows. Sarah can’t shake the feeling her own highly personal reason for leaving Hunter Davis at the altar is now playing out again in this nightmarish scene with her niece.

Sarah has to work with Detective Hunter Davis, her ex-fiancé, to find her niece before the young woman becomes the latest victim of a serial killer. Sarah must relive part of her past in order to assure there is a future for her niece and herself. Can Sarah and Hunter overcome their painful past and work together before the killer strikes again?

 

 

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Vicki Hinze, free book© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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