There is something in writing called “suspension of disbelief”. It is a term coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and is defined as, “In order for a story to be really great, the writer has to make it believable. That, in itself, is a bit of magic. The reader has to feel what the characters feel, see what they see and take every step along the way with them. If it’s not done correctly, the reader can’t empathize with them and the story is ruined. Writers have to work very hard to create this atmosphere of believably. That means research – TONS of research. Once upon a time, that meant long hours in libraries gathering physical information. Now, we have the entire world online. Can we say, “Thank you, Google?”
This brings its own set of problems. Everything on the web is ON THE WEB – not only all the data you could want but also records of what you were looking at. There is a tee-shirt making the rounds that I absolutely love. It says, “I am a writer, not a serial murderer no matter what my search history says.” That one phrase sums up a lot of writers, me included. I write suspense romance. That one theme runs through all my books – I like for my characters to face and overcome some ‘great evil’. That means I have to research evil things. Case in point – recent history for my browser includes things like, terrorist cells, human trafficking, illegal immigration and the effect of electrocution on the human nervous system. If you didn’t know I was a writer, you may assume I am some sort of terrorist. In a way, I guess I am but only for my poor characters. God bless their little hearts, but the more horrific their ordeals, the more relieved the readers will be when everything is done. If a reader sits back and says, “Whew, thank heavens that’s over” then I know I’ve done my job correctly.
It’s a common joke among writers that we are all on a government watch list. It would make sense if the CIA or FBI or NSA or some other 3 lettered government group are looking for certain phrases to ferret out potential problems. Perhaps we are. It’s a sacrifice we make to entertain others.
A few weeks ago, I made the decision to book a public appearance. As is norm for me, I began researching what I would need. I realized one of the big items was a banner to call attention to my booth. A new banner meant new graphics. I wanted professional quality that I could be proud of so immediately I decided to not do it myself. I turned to the very talented Najla Qamber who is the fantastic artist responsible for Reclamation’s cover.
Ya’ll – she knocked it out of the ball park! I can’t wait for you to see what she put together for me. I’m speechless and totally love it. It’s going to be gorgeous on a full size banner. Sorry – I was gushing there for a moment, but it really is spectacular.
So, anyway, back to the story. I approved the design. She sent an invoice. I went online to pay it through paypal today.
Wait.. what? Hmmm, I must have done something wrong in my fangirl haste to get my grubby little paws on my new epicness. Slow down. Breathe. You can do this. Paypal. Pay invoice. FCU…. Yep. Click.
That’s when it hit me. Ms. Qamber lives in the Middle East. My little FCU in Mississippi isn’t going to allow me to send funds to her without a lot of hassle, paperwork and maybe a few interrogations. I understand their thinking. They are trying to protect me from scams from another country. Thank you but I really need to send this. Daggum it, looks like I’m going to have to *gasp* leave my little cave and go out into ‘the world’ and *gasp* *gasp* INTERACT WITH PEOPLE???
I am not agoraphobic but I am extremely introverted. I really don’t want to leave if I can help it. How can I get out of this predicament?
I had an epiphany.
To make a long story short (I know, too late), I talked with a mutual friend and sent the money to her. She, in turn, sent it on to Najla. Bada bing – it’s done!
Right after I hit the send, the ramifications of what I had just done hit me. I sent money to someone who, in turn, sent it overseas.
I’ve laundered money.
I’m a money launderer.
If I suddenly disappear, I’ve probably been snatched by some covert team (Please, GOD let it be SEALs!) and am being interrogated about my search history and my money laundering.
This is the exciting life of an Author.
Hey, wait… that could be a good plot.. an author captured by a team of SEALs over her search history and $40.00 money laundering…… hot SEALs… hot sexy SEALs….
Excuse me, ya’ll. I need to go.