TEASER TUESDAY #IARTG

Published July 7, 2015 by Tracee Ford, Author

11039514_10153108166348959_639178523_o (2)SNIPPET FROM THROUGH GLASS DARKLY

The waitress took their order and then disappeared behind the swinging metal doors. Olivia propped her elbows onto the table, a cup of coffee in her grip. She yawned.

“You’re tired, Livy,” Danny said.

“Livy?”

“Yeah. You look like a ‘Livy’ to me. If you don’t like it, I won’t—”

“Oh no. It’s fine. No one’s ever called me that before. My family calls me ‘Olly.’”

“Na. You’re a Livy.”

“I like it. But, anyway, yes, I am tired. Amelia has an ear infection.”

“Oh, now I really feel bad.”

“Why?”

“You need to be home taking care of her. This job, Olivia, it’ll steal from you, even when you don’t know it.”

“She’ll be fine. I know this is something we need to do together.”

She sipped her coffee. “What did it steal from you, Danny?” she asked curiously.

“Oh wow. Well, I was a New York cop,” he began.

“I knew you were from New York. I could tell by your accent and the tattoo,” she said with a shy smile. “Why did you leave there?”

“I was nineteen and I thought I was freakin’ invincible; you know? I thought nothin’ could get to me. I had been an officer for about a year. I went straight to the academy after high school.

twin towers with light“My folks lived in Brooklyn. My dad and mom struggled to make ends meet as it was. I knew they couldn’t afford to send me to college. My sister Margie, she was the brilliant one. She got scholarships. Me? I was average,” he said with a shrug. “I didn’t want to go to the military, though. My mom would’ve lost her mind. So, I thought being a cop was more my style. Well, that didn’t help her either, especially since I was a New York cop,” he said as he smiled.

Olivia nodded. “Moms worry. That’s what we do. It’s in the job description.”

“You’re right. I know you’re right. Ma always says to me, ‘No matter how old you are, you’re still goin’a be my baby.’”

After taking another sip of coffee, Olivia lowered the cup back onto the table. “So how’d you end up here?”

“September eleventh. That’s what did it for me.”

“Were you there? In the buildings?”

“No. I got called back on shift. I saw the entire thing happen from the streets. My partner and me, we, uh– we stayed and helped with clean up. Our friends, our brothers and sisters in uniform,” he stopped for a moment, obviously choked up.

Sunday Share: Shall I Count the Ways? #IARTG

Published July 5, 2015 by Tracee Ford, Author

For the month of July, I am going to take time to share at least one thing about why I love being an indie author with you every Sunday. It will help you understand why I am running the Independence Inventory Sale.

saleBLESSING SHARE #1

I am so thankful to finally have my independence from traditional publishing because I can run things the way I want to. As an indie author, I have total control and total dominion over my world and my work. Being able to stay true to my vision is priceless.

People don’t understand that traditional publishing may not cost any money up front, but the price comes with other things. Separating from traditional publishing was the right decision for me, but it isn’t for everyone. With that said, freedom is exactly what attracted me to end my relationships in the traditional world and stand with hundreds of other indie authors. Although I’m supported by my husband’s publishing company, Ozwind is ran in an entirely different way than most publishers. I keep my rights, my freedom, and my independence. So, when you support me through my books, you also support the idea of dreaming big and spreading those wings to fly far beyond what was thought possible.

INDEPENDENCE INVENTORY SALE! Starts TODAY!

Published July 4, 2015 by Tracee Ford, Author

saleEach year I try to have one big sale on my books. In October and November, I try to have another sale to raise money for Breast Cancer Research and the American Diabetes Foundation. To kick off the 2015 specials, I wanted to do a month long inventory sale. The Independence Inventory Sale lasts until July 31st. You can buy two of my books and get the third free. Cost is $26.50 plus shipping/handling. The books have to be purchased directly through me. This is the only way I can sign them and enclose a bookmark.

PayPal is the payment I accept. It is safe and dependable.

To order, simply contact me at traceeford@rocketmail.com or through my Facebook messenger, http://www.facebook.com/tracee.ford.author.

Do I miss it? Nope!

Published July 3, 2015 by Tracee Ford, Author

While in Florida with my mother-in-law, I fell in love with Bradenton. It is beautiful. A bit too hot for my taste, but it is a nice place to visit each year. My mother-in-law kept hinting about jobs that were in the area in case we ever decided to relocate there. I listened politely. Finally, she came right out and asked me if I missed leaving my husband for eight hours a day to work. I said, “Nope.” She said, “Really?” I told her I had no desire to re-enter the workforce. She was astounded. Then when my husband said, “You don’t miss having to get up at 6 a.m. every day and deal with all of that politics?” My firm answer was, “Absolutely not!” Then my mother-in-law said she missed working, but she understood that I worked a lot longer than she ever did. It was nice the she gave validity to my side of the argument.

I eventually shared with her some of my experiences in my twenty years of working. Until she heard my side, I think she felt I was missing something and I assured her I wasn’t. There is only one place I would even consider working on a regular basis and that is at my son’s school. Other than that, not a chance.

I have an income based off of the interest of a well deserved, large settlement and a very big retirement plan I had to cash out. I also am partners with my husband in his businesses, home rentals and publishing. So, I have a job(s), I just don’t have to be on time anymore for fear of being reprimanded and written up.

Thankfully, I don’t have to work anymore. When folks realize that I don’t work outside of the home, they get a certain look on their face. It’s a look of disgust. I don’t even care anymore. During my last check up right before we left for our two week honeymoon vacation, my blood pressure is the lowest it has been in years! YEARS! It took me a solid year (365 days) to decompress from all of that time working, those nine years in the child welfare system, and those seven months of working in various jobs just to make ends meet.

I don’t miss getting up at the crack of dawn, being on high alert all of the time, dealing with hate, politics, and poor management; bosses that don’t have a clue how to do their job, lazy employees that wanted me to solve all of their problems, backbiting, jealousy, hate, and, last but certainly not least, having to walk the line for people who didn’t truly understand what was going on around them. Don’t get me wrong, not all of the employers were horrible. The jobs, however, weren’t always the greatest. I had some really great working environments centered around understanding, outstanding, and fair leaders. However, all of that positive didn’t match up to all of the negativity.

Someone sent me a text message a while back about a case I was involved with. It was a child abduction case that I dealt with at my last employer. It was one of the most stressful cases I had ever had the displeasure of dealing with. I did everything right as the director of that case. Luckily, the child was found. I remember talking to the local judge, asking him to order that the child be taken out of the home. That was two weeks before she was taken and almost killed. The reply I got when I petitioned was, “Things have been like that for twenty years. Nothing’s going to happen. Those people will never change.” I shook my head at his callousness and his complete disregard for child safety. I thought, “Why am I even here?” Anyway, the text was to tell me that the man who took the child got convicted with two life sentences. Do you know that I didn’t even care? I thought, “Great, but not my problem.”

That is what happens to your mind when you work in a job where you have no choice but to compartmentalize everything so you can survive free of nightmares. I don’t have to do that anymore. I love what I do. I love waking up at 10 a.m. and staying up as long as I want. I love taking naps during the day. I love not punching a clock. I love being my own boss. I love writing and working my husband. I LOVE IT! I wouldn’t trade this!

This time last year, I was working two jobs and getting ready to take on a third one because I was waiting on the ruling for my settlement. I was worrying about putting food on the table and keeping my house payment going. I was dependent upon my parents for charity. I was alone and struggling in the worst way possible. I was battling deep depression and anxiety. I felt like my world was ending. So, if you think that I would even consider going back into that hellish rat race, think again! I paid my dues. For twenty years I worked and worried and stressed and kissed up. For nine years I saw the worst of the worst parents and heard testimony from countless children about the horrors of their lives. I listened to them explain their sexual abuse to me and how their parents were too busy shooting up to even cook for them. I pulled children out of run down houses because mommy was too busy snorting pills to get the kids to school. I worried each day that I would be brought in and told what a crappy job I was doing and all of the things I was doing wrong. I spent time working with the ungrateful public and scrubbing the floors in houses to make sure bills were paid. I listened to people yell at me because their prescriptions were too high, like I could help that. And you think I would go back there? Um, no!

Like I said, there is only one exception and that is my son’s school. Besides that, I think it’s different when you know you don’t have to be there. You don’t have to have the money to survive. It takes on a different meaning when you work. You work for fun. When it’s fun, it doesn’t feel like work at all. When I substitute, it isn’t stressful. I love those kids at my son’s school. They make me smile. I didn’t smile much when I worked before and if I tried then I got in trouble for having too much fun.

There have been some challenges, even after it seemed that the clouds were clearing. Everyone faces challenges whether they are working or not. The separation from my last publisher was the final chapter; the final change that needed to take place for transformation and peace to truly be achieved. But, in comparison to the other hurdles, it was a simply overcome.

So, when you see me on social media a lot or blogging or see statuses where I’m working on my book or things for our publishing company or traveling with my husband places, don’t wonder if I’m happy or unfulfilled. I’m doing just fine.

 

TEASER TUESDAY #IARTG

Published June 30, 2015 by Tracee Ford, Author

Haunted CastleSNIPPET FROM VOICE OF THE DEAD

Lauren walked back and forth across the stage giving her presentation. The Aztec printed skirt she wore swished against her legs. She focused on her PowerPoint presentation.

“Ladies and gentleman, the important thing to remember when you are trying to understand the mind of a criminal is to consider the historical information available to you. Current behavior is demonstrative of past behavior. Also, beware of malingering. Criminals are notorious for faking illness. I could sight countless examples of offenders that have tried this, but I think Kenneth Bianci is a prime example. You know him as the one of the Hillside Stranglers. He pretended to have Multiple Personality Disorder for the purposes of escaping punishment for his crimes.”

“Dr. Harris,” a voice from the back of the auditorium echoed throughout the room. She looked away from the screen and saw Nick standing in the back.

“Agent Bennette, as you can see, I’m in the middle of a lecture.”

“We need to leave,” he said gruffly.

“What?” Her temper flared and heat filled her veins.

“What is today Doc?” he asked.

“Agent Bennette, please…”

“Think.” He crossed his arms. “What is today?”

She paused realizing the date; August eighteenth.

Suddenly, the significance hit her. “Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize, but I need to cut this short. I am so sorry. You can pick up the power point handout on the back table. If you have questions, my email address is included,” she said as she began throwing her belongings together. “Classes begin in about three weeks and I teach a class which details this subject matter. Thank you for coming.”

Nick walked to the front of the auditorium where Lauren continued putting her things away. He stood in a pair of dark boot cut jeans, hiking boots, and a white polo shirt.

“I wish you would have been a little more polite as opposed to just barging in,” she said sternly.

“I’m just following orders. I was told to retrieve you A-S-A-P. We’re going to Coopers Rock State Forest. That’s quite a drive.”

0ihv2wth“Another girl?”

“Local detective said she’s in a plastic box and when he saw your link and read over the VICAP data, he called me.”

“By the way, Bennette, don’t call me ‘Doc.’” He ignored her. “When was she found?” Lauren asked.

“This morning at about seven; detective said the vic’s brother received a text message with the GPS coordinates. Crime scene is still fresh. They specifically requested that you come and because you’re a consultant being paid with federal dollars and you’re an expert of some kind, I am required to bring you.”

Without another word, she threw her laptop case over her shoulder and grabbed her other belongings. Almost sprinting to the back of the room, Nick kept up without effort.

“Where are you going?” he asked curiously.

“To my office. I need to change clothes and grab an overnight bag.”

Review Time! VACATION/HONEYMOON

Published June 29, 2015 by Tracee Ford, Author

Hi all. I just wanted to pop in and let you know we are back from our honeymoon, somewhat. We are staying a few days with my mother-in-law in Florida and then making the two day trip home.

I was hoping the trip would give me a reboot. Each time I publish a book, I end up having writer’s block for about three to four months after. I typically need jumper cables to get me back in the mood. I think it is the exhaustion of actually publishing that does it to me. Although it is natural for me to write, the publishing and marketing is a little taxing. So, I try to plan get-a-ways right after I publish.

SAM_1077I also think stepping away from every day life gives us a sense of the things that we hold dear. Never before have I ever missed “home.” I have always loved the thrill of traveling and seeing new places. This trip felt very different to me. I kept missing all of things I normally didn’t miss at all about my “normal life.” I missed my dog and actually worried about him while we were gone, probably because of the cancer diagnosis. I am still worrying about him since we haven’t quite made it home yet. I missed my son, as I always do.

I also felt completely different about this vacation than I have all the rest. At certain points on the ship I actually felt trapped. I have never felt that way about cruising. I discussed this with my husband several times on the cruise also and this is what I’ve come up with:

SAM_1048I have been cruising since 2000. This past week’s adventure makes #7 for me. In the past, when I cruised, I had been working high stress jobs with horrific responsibilities. So, cruising had actually been an escape. This time, I didn’t feel like I was escaping at all because there was nothing to escape from. I realized that before when I took a cruise, I was running away. Every time I got on a ship, no one could find me, contact me; no pager beeping, no one calling me to ask me to work overtime or to tell me I had a new referral I needed to go out on. All of that was gone. In fact, I had felt liberated whenever I hit the high seas. This time, I felt a little lost. The entire time, I just wanted to be home.

Here’s the other thing that I think contributed to the new found feeling of homesickness. Before, with one exception. I had never cared what I ate or how I took care of myself while cruising. The one exception is when I first lost all of my weight. Even then, I took a break from dieting to reward myself for all of my hard work. It was different this time. I did by very best to steer away from all of the fatty, high-sugar foods and wanted a healthier alternatives. This time, that wasn’t an option. Every day it was the same thing… salads, salads, and more salads. The eggs were runny. The bacon was raw. The options on the buffet were fat, fat, and more fat. There were no diabetic-friendly desserts. I guess that didn’t bother me before, but for some reason it did this time.

Please understand, I am not saying I had a bad time. I didn’t. This experience was just a little different for me. And it made me realize that I would rather go to Tennessee for two weeks than to be on a ship for eight days.

As far as a review for Carnival Breeze, the staff was friendly, especially at 1:30 a.m. when we had to have someone come to our room because of a foul odor coming from the mattress. We are not stinky people (LOL). We take care of ourselves well and are quite clean, so the stench was saturated into the cloth of the mattress. At first, we thought it was the sheets. However, the housekeeping staff confirmed for us that it was the mattresses, but they could only give us one replacement. So, for them to change out our beds in the middle of the night with a smile, says something.

We also lost water for about 24 hours. A part broke and that caused everyone to be without water. Thankfully, we were able to spend the day on the beach and by the time we got back on, the system was back up. I didn’t really get angry about this because, to me, it is like a hotel with typical hotel problems. Things break all of the time and they have to be fixed. It’s just part of life.

I do see a change in the cruising industry in general, however. It is becoming less and less what it once was. The appeal of it is decreasing, in my personal opinion. Before, when I first started cruising, the meals were delicious, inclusive, and top-of-the-line. Now they have added actually restaurants on board that require extra money. For dining, they give you pagers because there is typically a 45 minute wait for dinner. This ship was the largest and newest I have ever been on, so the number of people was much higher than any other cruise. This made for more crowds and more children running around. I lost count of how many times I was shoved, stepped on, ran into, and had to wait on the elevator because a teenager pushed all of the buttons. So, ultimately, if I do take another cruise, it will be an adult cruise. No kids. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great way to do a family vacation, but it is just not my cup of tea anymore.

I remember a time when we cruised and we were upgraded to a suite. We only paid $780 for three of us to cruise. Those days are gone. Cruising used to be one of the most budget-friendly vacation options around. Those days are gone, I’m afraid. So, to pay the high cruise fees plus have to shell out for dining options, that isn’t economical at all, at least not for us.

The ports of call for us were St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Grand Turk. St. Maarten wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. We took a tour of the island on scooters, which was pretty cool.  We also saw some of the sea creatures, which was extra cool! The island itself smelled like sewage, so I’m not sure what that was about.

We got off of the ship for about an half of an hour in St. Kitts. It was mostly shops, people trying to sell you stuff, and trying to overpower you with monkeys and tours.

San Juan was pretty awesome. We did a tour of the forts and they were massive. The tour guide was great and the forts themselves were unbelievable. Because it was a short day for us to be in San Juan, we were rushed back onto the ship as soon as our tour was over, which was a little frustrating. A friend of mine from college lives in San Juan and I really wanted to visit him, but because of the line onto the ship and the fact that we had to be on the ship so quickly after our excursion, I didn’t get to see him. The likelihood of me going back to San Juan is remote, so not being able to catch up with him made me sad.

Grand Turk was number one on this cruise. It was spectacular. We walked off of the ship right onto the beach. We spent the entire day there. I built a sand castle for the first time since I was a child. I have never actually been in the ocean as an adult. I have had my feet in, but I have never been in the water up to my neck. The Caribbean Sea is like clear bath water and I took advantage of that. We lounged in chair and enjoyed the company of each other as well as some new friends we met on the ship. That was a good day!

11707514_10206386146566344_8110240937227784763_nSo, all in all, I don’t think my experience had anything to do with Carnival. It had everything to do with me and the fact that I have changed as a person. The things I like and find enjoyable have changed and as a result, the things I prefer to do have changed. I prefer spending time relaxing on the beach at my mother-in-laws where I am not rushed and don’t have to deal with crowds of people. I prefer being hidden in the mountains with my husband. I prefer spending time with my son by the fire out back. I have grown up, I guess and with the change in my situation, I have evolved. I don’t have to fight the hustle and bustle of the public anymore. My life is more leisurely now than it ever has been. My stress level has decreased significantly. I don’t do the same things I used to. It only makes sense that the things I enjoy and the reasons I enjoyed them would naturally change as a result. And, really, I am glad for this. I am happy that I don’t have to run away. I would rather know that I’m different than I was before and accept that with an open mind, thus gravitating to the new things that come to me.

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