Rachel Thompson

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

John W. Mefford on Listening to His Inner Voice and Leaving the IT Industry @JWMefford #Mystery #Suspense

I look in the mirror, and what do I see? Extra lines, less hair, a little more weight, depending on my current level of fitness. Time stands still for no one. And, if you’re open to growing, learning, that’s a good thing. A very good thing.
By looking at that reflection—literally and figuratively—I’ve seen more changes than I can possibly count over the years. With more salt than pepper in my goatee, my facial hair shows some tread on my tires. Muscle strains, joint pain, squinting to read small print, all come with living a full life year after year for almost five decades. And don’t get me going about my torn rotator cuff. But it certainly beats the alternative.
I’ve never been one to hide my age, starting when I was a young kid, and looking even younger. I always had a stubborn, driven core that pushed me to work hard, even if the task or nature of the job was unappealing, or even if it made me want to puke. In my teenage years I built banana splits and flipped burgers, then mowed yards in triple-digit temperatures. Once I made it out of college, I worked long hours trying to scoop my rival reporter at the cross-town newspaper—my first paying gig in the writing world. But my drive and competitiveness hit an advanced level once I hit the grind of corporate life.
Information Technology was the field, the very hot field that sucked me in like an F5 tornado. It’s a remarkable industry, with an amazing array of talented, visionary people, especially in the early days, before anyone had used the term start-up.
From day one, I never quite felt comfortable working in IT, and most of the time truly felt out of place. Technology has never been a keen interest of mine. I had a few talents that helped me along the way…I’m pretty good with numbers and motivating people to get stuff done, even if I didn’t truly understand the nuts and bolts of what the hell we were trying to accomplish. It didn’t matter. I was told to break through the brick wall, and I did anything to reach the goal. I was about the best grinder around. Many were smarter, but few worked as hard. I never let my brain relax, because I couldn’t afford to.
And then I woke up. It wasn’t an overnight epiphany. I had internal struggles for years, my true voice softly telling me to find a job or business that suited me. It took a good ten years for me to take action, to recognize that little voice as my true self.
I have a friend who knew what he wanted to do when he was fourteen years old, maybe younger. He dreamed of working as a nuclear physicist. I’m not kidding. He was—is—brilliant. He wanted it so badly he could taste it. He talked about it all the time, studied everything about that world, and mapped his path toward his destiny.
Outside of dreaming to play for any number of sports teams, while growing up I could never figure out what I was destined to do with my life. Working as a reporter allowed me to work a muscle that I’d never used. The job itself was bit confining, but it ignited a creative spark in me that stayed alive like the Olympic flame. Then came the IT gig.
It was all meant to be…to provide life experiences that have taught me plenty, that I can share with others, my family, and, yes, write about in the most unbridled, embellished way possible. It’s empowering to finally admit the truth about who I am, how I want to contribute to the world, to evoke emotion from readers of my work. Is it a mid-life crisis? That’s not how I see it. I don’t want to buy a red sports car, I love my wife more than ever, and I have great fulfillment by watching three kids grow up and figure out life.
Instead, I’ve experienced a mid-life enlightenment. I might be in my late forties, but it’s better to admit who you are and what you’re passionate about before there’s no life left to live.
My only advice to my kids and anyone else of any age? Listen to your true self. Find your passion and then don’t hide it. Work like hell to be better at it, and be proud of who you are and how you impact the world.
It’s funny how things work out in life. My friend? Well, the government shut down funding for the super-collider, and after investing seven years of college and low-paying internships in cold-weather cities, his dreams of making a living as a nuclear physicist were flushed down the toilet. Now, though, he’s one of those visionary, brilliant people in the IT industry. He’s damn good at it, and I think he enjoys most of it. Bravo for him!
As for me, I’m a writer. I think I’m pretty damn good at it, and I’ll work my ass off to get better. That’s my passion. I hope you find yours.

Behind the fa├žade of every corporate takeover executives pull levers this way and that, squeezing the last profitable nickel out of the deal. But no one knows the true intent of every so-called merger. 

No one knows the secret bonds that exist. 

An Indian technology giant swallows up another private company that has deep roots in North Texas. For one unassuming man the thought of layoffs, of losing his own job to a bunch of arrogant assholes feels like a kick to the jewels. 

Until the day Michael’s life changes forever.   

Perverse alliances. An affair of the heart. A grisly murder. A spiraling string of events thrusts Michael into a life-or-death fight to save a tortured soul and hunt down a brutal killer…one who lurks closer than he ever imagined. 

Greed knows no boundaries.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Suspense, Thriller
Rating – R
More details about the author
Connect with John W. Mefford on Facebook & Twitter

Prologue from HUSH by Kimberly Shursen @KimberlyShursen #Goodreads #AmReading #Thriller

-Prologue-
June 21, 1997 

Thirteen-year-old Ben Grable stared out the window of his father’s car. He wished he could close his eyes and be somewhere—anywhere else—just not on the way to the nursing home.He hated today.

Every Sunday, his father dragged him to visit his grandmother. Two years ago, the woman who had laughed at all of his jokes, baked him chocolate chip cookies, and played Chutes and Ladders with him growing up was given a death sentence. It wasn’t fair to his Nana or the people who watched her die an inch at a time.

“Come on, son,” his father said when he parked his car in the lot. “Put on that smile your Nana loves to see.”

The one-story, all-brick building sat on an acreage surrounded by pine trees. The scene was serene, but the moment Ben stepped inside, the smell of urine and decay was overwhelming.

Old people with crinkled faces and withered hands who had shrunk to a portion of their original height sat in chairs lined against the wall saying nothing. Nothing. The years had sucked the life and voices out of them. Nursing assistants offered cookies and a smile along with a pat on the patients’ decomposing backs and told them it was a beautiful day. What did they care if the sun was shining or a tornado was about to sweep them away? Every moment of each day was the same. Pain. Loneliness. Humiliation. And fading memories of who they once were.

“Nana?” Ben said, and walked to the elderly woman sitting in a wheel chair that faced the window. Even before he reached her, he noticed the spastic movements of her hands and head were worse. He bent down next to her in the room the size of his closet, a crucifix hanging on one wall.

Her tired, puffy eyes stared at him, and Ben’s heart sank when he realized she didn’t recognize him. He could have been Batman or a poodle, and she wouldn’t have known the difference.

After a few minutes of trying to understand what she was saying, Ben turned to his father. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

His father gave him an understanding nod.

He’d wandered down the hallway, blinking back tears of anger and pain. Angry that his grandmother was never going to get better and the pain of knowing he’d already lost her.

On the other side of the nursing home, he spotted another set of double doors. Staring inside, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end.

Babies, children, and young adults filled the long, narrow hallway; some lay flat on their backs on bare mattresses, their heads rolling back and forth in slow-motion succession. Others traipsed the floor mindlessly with unblinking, glazed eyes, their backs hunched over. Heads too large for their bodies—slanted eyes, some missing limbs, a couple with wide, open gashes in their upper lips. Where did these monsters come from, and why were they here?

Nurses changed diapers, or knelt beside mats and held baby bottles for children who looked as old, or older, than Ben. Long, guttural moans and helpless cries filtered through the doors, the smell of feces was disgusting.

He jumped when he felt something touch his shoulder.

“Sad, isn’t it?” a young nurse said.

“What’s wrong with them?” Ben asked, tasting his own sour bile.

She shrugged her shoulders. “Different things. Most were born this way, and their parents just couldn’t take care of them.”

“Why are they here? In a nursing home?”

“Part of the building is for a nursing home and”—she nodded to the other side the window—“this part is controlled by the state. There are so many nursing homes for old people and not enough institutions for people like this that a few months ago we started taking in the overflow.”

“Will they ever get better? Go home?”

The nurse shook her head. “I’m afraid not. This is the only life they’ll ever know.”

When he looked back through the windowed door, he gasped and jumped back. On the other side of the window, only inches away from his face, a pair of eyes pleaded with Ben for help.

“It’s okay. They won’t hurt you,” the nurse told him.

Ben shook his head back and forth slowly, tears welling in his eyes. He turned and raced through the halls toward the front door of the building. The face on the other side of the door burned into his memory—the bulging, watery eyes, the slobbering drool running down the glass, the hopeless and far-away look of misfortune and doom.

Heart racing, his temples throbbing, he was going to vomit. Breathless when he reached his father’s car, he found it locked. Panicked, he pulled at the handle over and over. “Open, please, open!” he sobbed uncontrollably.

He turned, leaned back against the door, and slowly sank to the concrete. If his friends saw him, they’d call him a sissy-boy. It didn’t matter. Those things, those sad, awful looking creatures weren’t human. His parents had always told him that all of God’s children were created equally. But it wasn’t true.

He brought his knees up to his chest and covered his tear-streaked face with his hands, trying hard to get the images out of his mind.

It just wasn’t true.


hush

Soon after Ann Ferguson and Ben Grable marry, and Ben unseals his adoption papers, their perfect life together is torn apart, sending the couple to opposite sides of the courtroom.

Representing Ann, lawyer Michael J. McConaughey (Mac) feels this is the case that could have far-reaching, judicial effects -- the one he's been waiting for.

Opposing counsel knows this high profile case happens just once in a lifetime.

And when the silent protest known as HUSH sweeps the nation, making international news, the CEO of one of the top ten pharmaceutical companies in the world plots to derail the trial that could cost his company billions.

Critically acclaimed literary thriller HUSH not only questions one of the most controversial laws that has divided the nation for over four decades, but captures a story of the far-reaching ties of family that surpasses time and distance.


*** Hush does not have political or religious content. The story is built around the emotions and thoughts of two people who differ in their beliefs.

 EDITORIAL REVIEW: "Suspenseful and well-researched, this action-packed legal thriller will take readers on a journey through the trials and tribulations of one of the most controversial subjects in society today." - Katie French author of "The Breeders," "The Believer's," and "Eyes Ever To The Sky."

Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Thriller
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Kimberly Shursen through Facebook and Twitter