where the writers are
Retired? Unemployed? Whatever.

Yesterday, I volunteered at an semi-annual Award Ceremony at the Sheriff's Office. The small auditorium was packed to honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, as well as those retiring after decades of service.

Family and friends were invited, but I was most impressed by how many colleagues of these people took time from their day to crowd into that room. I can't help but compare it to what's going on at our place.

Yesterday was also hubby's last official day of work. He's been on half time for the last three months, but as of today, he's officially either unemployed or retired—he hasn't decided yet, since the choice to leave wasn't his. He works in a very small office, but there was absolutely nothing done to acknowledge the countless hours he's put in, going in on weekends, stepping in to do everything from crawl under desks to keep computers running, to driving across the state to represent the company at a fund-raising event.

Not to mention nary a raise in the 8 years he's worked for them. (Practice for living on a fixed income, right?) The company is headquartered in California, but they've definitely kept their hands on what's going on in Florida. Actually, "micromanage" is the term hubby used.

And, work horse that he is, he'll be back at the office, probably every day, although the agreement says they'd like him to come in one day a week in return for a few minor perks. His new "emeritus" status gives him a desk, and he's been working on some personal, but work-related projects which he can do better there. And yes, there's the "I'll drive him nuts if he's home all day" factor which plays into it as well. But my mindset right about now is that it's all well and good for him to do HIS work at his office desk, but if I find out he's crawling under desks to fix computers, or answering questions, or anything else that he used to be paid for, I'll pitch a fit.

Unemployed or retired doesn't matter. He's not being paid for his time, and owes them nothing. Petty of me? Probably. But that's how I feel right now. And he knows he's toast if he goes to the office until next week, so we should be taking some time off for us, at least until we get sick of each other. Anyone going to start the pool for when that will be?

Meanwhile, I'm working on my short story. I'm about 5,000 words in, so I'm past the halfway point. It's quite a departure for me, since there's no "relationship" the way there would be in a romance or romantic suspense. The protagonist is a divorced homicide detective in his mid-to-late forties, and the major secondary character is a rookie cop who happens to be female. He's definitely a mentor figure, and there's none of the demand to keep building sexual tension.

To be honest, I'm having similar issues with the novel I set aside to write the short story. I have Gordon, a divorced Chief of Police, and two other POV characters, Justin and Megan, all caught up in some Very Bad Stuff. For some reason, there is an undercurrent of sexual tension building between Justin and Megan. I have a feeling that convention would require that if I give them a consummated relationship, I'll have to find a woman for Gordon as well.

It's not a romance, so I don't have the constraints of that HEA relationship, but it's starting to feel strange as Justin and Megan are alone in a hotel room, while Gordon's back in town dealing with two homicides and two break-ins. Hmmm. He's had his eye on Angie, who works in the small town's favorite bakery/café/diner. Maybe she'll notice.

Other writing updates: The release date for my Cerridwen Press short story, The Other Side of the Page is July 27th.

I got my Rita contest scores and When Danger Calls finished in the top quartile. Since it doesn't adhere to romantic suspense convention, I'm pleased to know the judges liked it.

Check back tomorrow when I'll announce the winner of my June contest. And Friday, it's the conclusion of "The Exhumation" from the case files of Detective Hussey.

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If You Got Fired from Your Job, Your Good Luck Has Just Begun

I just got interviewd by Asylum.com about unemployement and the recession. Nine questions were asked. I have posted Question 1 below with the answer that I gave.

QUESTION #1: Let's say Mr. X just got fired from the job he's had for six years. Right now the unemployment rate is at a whopping 9.5%. What's the silver lining for Mr. X here? What do you tell him so that doesn't think life is hopeless?

ANSWER TO QUESTION #1. Here are a few things Mr. X should consider:

(a.) In the Chinese language, "crisis" and "opportunity" are the same characters. So substitute "opportunity" for "problem". When I got fired from my job over 28 years ago, it was very traumatic. But it was the best thing that ever happened to me. There are many other people who got fired and say the same thing. My getting canned was an opportunity to do something else. I wouldn't have the freedom and the success I have today if I hadn't gotten fired.

(b) Orson Scott Card said that "Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden." So, in the midst of it all — don’t freak out just because you got laid off or fired. Sell the produce from your garden. Career experts say getting laid off can be nerve- racking, but it can also be a chance for reinvention. With careful planning and a clear head, you can use the period of adjustment to create a career in a new field and develop new skills.

(c) If you find yourself unemployed, a recession is a great time to create your own job or start one of many businesses to help the economy. This is a time to finally shut up about how much you know and show the world with action that you really know something that can make a difference in this world. Isn’t this the kind of bravado that Americans are supposed to be known for?

(d) Read my e-book "101 Reasons to love a Recession". It can be downloaded for free at these links:

http://www.love-a-recession.com/

http://www.real-success.ca/free_ebooks.html

Ernie Zelinski
World's #1 Corporate Escape Artist
Author of the Bestseller "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free"
(Over 100,000 copies sold and published in 7 foreign languages)
and the International Bestseller "The Joy of Not Working"
(Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)