Tag Archive for: The In-Between Years

Finding the “real” United States

By AB Plum

During a recent cruise from Barcelona to Miami I asked the young Indian cook preparing my egg-white omelet, “Have you visited the US?”

“No, madam. It is my dream. But someday I will go. Where do you think I should start?”

Obviously, this isn’t a one-minute conversation (about the time for my omelet to cook). But we discussed the question at length over his next fourteen preparations of my breakfast.

“New York,” he said next morning, flipping the concoction in his skillet—a skill I’ve never mastered and told him so to let him know I’m not an expert in either flipping omelets or mapping out cross-country trips. “I think,” he continued, “Manhattan and Hollywood-Los Angeles must go to the top of the list, don’t you agree?”

Someone behind me interrupted, “I’d like to order an omelet now because I don’t want to miss the lecture on Columbus’s discovery of America.”

So, my new friend and I tabled the question until the following day when I picked up our conversation. “Since you’re from New Delhi, I’d suggest places other than cities. Do you know about the Grand Canyon? Or Yosemite National Park? The Black Hills aren’t that far from Yellowstone or the Tetons …”

A hungry passenger elbowed in next to me and announced, “I’d like two eggs over easy.”

When I commented to other passengers about this on-going conversation, they all had definite ideas of places to go and places to experience. None recommended NYC or LA.

By the end of the cruise, I still lacked a solid plan but suggested beginning in Washington, DC. From there, I recommended the Black Hills, adding he should see the Crazy Horse Monument before proceeding to Yellowstone and/or the Tetons.

Next, I advised, head south and west to Salt Lake City, veering off to The Grand Canyon. Afterwards, fly to San Francisco to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. With any time, money, or energy left, I suggested flying to Seattle—maybe managing to hook up with a cruise ship destined for Alaska.

My new friend thanked me for my ideas, but I think he still felt the allure of NYC.

Yes, I recognize my itinerary leaves out huge swaths of our country, its history, and culture. I happen to love West Virginia and New Orleans. I know many would insist Mount Vernon and Monticello are a must for anyone visiting Washington. My preferences, Lincoln’s Tomb and Birthplace, probably do require too much travel off the beaten path. For me, they evoke more poignant memories than Washington’s and Jefferson’s plantations. I hope I conveyed the “real” United States is more than the East and West Coasts.

What do you think? Where would you send a foreign visitor with 21 days to see the USA? 

******When AB isn’t lolling on trans-oceanic cruises, she lives and writes just off the fast lane in Silicon Valley. Her American Journey began in Southern Missouri, after which she lived in Bolivia, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, and Argentina. Book 3 in The MisFit Series, The In-Between Years is now available from Amazon.  Look for Book 4, The Reckless Year on November 17—just in time for Thanksgiving.


By AB Plum

Laughter, they say, is good for the soul. In The MisFits, my dark psychological thriller series, few characters laugh. The question remains open, does Michael Romanov, the main character, have a soul?

This deep philosophical question leads my writer’s mind to ask: Do politicians have souls?

Too many of them, like Michael, are self-serving. Easily corrupted. Filled with hubris. Convinced they know more than the rest of us. Lacking in empathy—though they can fake compassion if it serves them. The list could go on, but this is a blog—not a book series.

If the above description sounds cynical, maybe I’ve been at my keyboard writing about the dark side of human nature too long. But I think Michael Romanov could run for president—and maybe win because he’s charismatic, straight-talking, ignorant about his ignorance, and a master manipulator. Oh, and did I mention proud?

Woe unto anyone who dares laugh at Michael. In his view, jail time for such an offense would carry mandatory hard labor as part of the sentence. (Or since he’s a full-blown psychopath, he might choose murder to save face).

If I sound as if I’ve slipped off the cusp of reality, have you read about the woman arrested for laughing at a comment about AG Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing? 

Yes, the arrest happened. The judge threw out the jury’s guilty verdict but allowed a new date for another trial. So, what should we believe now?
  • ·        Laughter is the best medicine?
  • ·        Laughter is against the law?
  • ·        Laughter is good for the soul?
  • ·        Laughter can put you in jail?

Once we answer these questions, others pop up:
  • ·        Does a snicker carry the same possible penalty as a laugh?
  • ·        Where does a laugh end and a guffaw begin?
  • ·        Can we still use LOL in emails without fear?
  • ·        Should we ban giggles, chortles, chuckles, titters, and sniggers?
  • ·        Are cackles okay in the privacy of our own homes?
  • ·        Are babies exempt from arrest or must we teach them to stop smiling and laughing?

Perhaps to play it safe, we need to ignore Abraham Lincoln:  “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die.”

When AB’s not writing about murder and families, she laughs a lot on daily hikes, aerobic dancing, and watching old Nick and Nora movies in Silicon Valley, just off the fast lane. She’s allowing herself a big smile every day through Friday, September 15. That’s the date when The In-Between Years, Book 3 in the MisFit Series will go live on Amazon.

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and All Things Social Media

By AB Plum

Thanks to the wonders of technology, I can write this blog a week ahead of its due date, schedule it, and take off tomorrow for a fun-and-frolic vacation in San Francisco. 

I’m writing the day before the Comey Testimony. (I capitalize testimony b/c it’s almost as if Mr. Comey’s appearance is a TV program or movie or book title).

I am also writing before President Trump tweets about the upcoming testimony or during the testimony itself.

Either the testimony or tweet content could provide enough commentary for dozens of riveting blogs. But. I’m going to take advantage of the scheduling feature on this blog and leave posting the excitement/amazement/disgust/disbelief/etc. following the event to others to wax on about.

I am going to SF without my laptop or any other handheld devices. Except for one. Because I have kids (adults, true) in other cities and a friend watching over the home front, the need to take my cell phone will win out. But … no calling or tweeting or texting except in an emergency.

Admittedly, sending a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge will be tempting, but I hope to resist. My grown kids have walked across the span many times. Some of my relatives, like my house sitter, have never taken a single step on this engineering marvel. 

Here’s my rationale: Even if I send my relatives or the house sitter a picture, they’ll probably all be too busy watching The Testimony. Or the analyses of The Testimony. Or the late-night panning of The Testimony. 

Whatever …. I’ll catch up when I return home. Until then, I’m about to retreat to Luddite Land.

How about you? When was the last time you “unhooked” from your electronic wonders? Do you remember a time when we didn’t text? Didn’t tweet? Didn’t share pictures of our vacations via Facebook?

AB Plum lives off the fast lane in Silicon Valley, where she writes about mayhem and murder in her psychological suspense series, The MisFit. If she doesn’t overstay her vacation, she plans a late summer release of The Lost Days and The In-Between Years, Books 2 and 3 in the series.