Lost in Facebook

Where’s Fim?

Growing up in a family with seven children and two adults, the phone was always ringing for someone. My sisters and I fought over phone time, often interrupting each other’s really important phone calls with demands that the phone be relinquished for our really, really important phone calls. We sparred verbally, and on occasion physically, as we struggled to claim what we perceived as our fair share of phone time.

Not so my brothers. Neither of them were on the phone often, and never for the long, intense conversations that my sisters and I engaged in with our friends. My youngest brother had an almost pathological dislike of talking on the phone, and would go to great lengths to avoid answering it. If forced to pick up an incoming call, he would just hang up the phone if the caller failed to make her need clear within the first five seconds. As he got older, he became more at ease with communication technology, but for a long time he refused to make the switch from flip phone to smart phone, and he resolutely refused to engage in the next communication wave, social media.

So, when one of my sisters mentioned that a friend had said our youngest brother—let’s call him Fim—was on Facebook, we were all astonished. My sister Barb—her real name, Barb has no privacy concerns—and I immediately went online to verify, but were unable to find his profile. We checked to make sure we’d gotten the story straight, and were assured that his profile had definitely been spotted on Facebook.

We searched again and again came up empty. This time, Barb messaged a good friend of Fim’s, thinking that he, if anyone, would know if Fim really was part of the Facebook Nation, but had contrived somehow to stay invisible to his older sisters.

Her message was worded thus: “Hey, we can’t find Fim on Facebook. Do you know where he is?” It seemed innocuous enough. But remember that old game “Telephone,” wherein one person whispers a message to the person next to her, and that person passes it on to the next and on and on until the circle is complete? The last person to receive the message then repeats it out loud for the group. Usually, it’s become such a mishmash of original content and misunderstanding, that it seems like an entirely different message.

Well, with lighting speed Barb’s original query traveled throughout the universe of Fim’s friends, both on and off Facebook. The final version of the message was that Fim was missing, and his family didn’t know where he was. As a result, both Barb and Fim received responses from concerned friends inquiring and theorizing about Fim’s fate. In addition, Fim, who had no idea any of this was happening, was flummoxed to find his phone blowing up with voicemail and text messages from friends asking if he was all right.

On one hand, the level of engagement and concern from friends could be seen as gratifying. On the other, to a person like Fim, who uses the phone for talking and texting as sparingly as if he were being charged $5 per word,  the result was extremely unsettling.

When we finally got hold of Fim ourselves, we learned that he had, in a moment of weakness, agreed to set up a Facebook Page for a business he was launching. However, instead of a flood of interest in his products, he received a number of messages from former girlfriends, some of whom were single and interested in reconnecting. Which was rather awkward, given that Fim’s significant other, with whom he was and is very happily partnered, was handling his Facebook business page. Thus, he had some ‘splainin’ to do.

His deep-seated wariness about modern communication having been validated, he took the Facebook page down immediately, which, in keeping with the law of unintended consequences, ultimately resulted in him playing the leading role in his own version of Where’s Waldo.

I don’t think we’ll see Fim on Twitter any time soon. It wouldn’t even surprise me if he reverted to his flip phone. But his Facebook misadventure is a permanent and welcome addition to the collection of family stories that never grow old–except, perhaps, to the person they’re about. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

At last …

It’s here! Dangerous Secrets, the fourth volume in the Leah Nash Mysteries series is published at last. I anticipated that when this happy day came, I would be dancing exuberantly around the living room to one of my all-time favorite songs, “Heat Wave” by Martha and the Vandellas.  And believe me when I tell you, that is a sight to behold.

However, instead, I am ensconced on my couch with a cup of hot tea, a box of Kleenex and a fire in the fireplace, because I have contracted the mother of all colds. In place of Martha, Etta James is providing background music with her rendition of “At Last.” Still and all, not a bad way to celebrate reaching the finish line.

The writing of any book is its own journey, but the path to this one was a little more difficult than the others have been. I wasn’t sure I’d make the deadline, but happily, I have. Here’s what it’s about:

A week that starts out with a woman’s dead body in the living room rarely ends well. When small-town reporter Miguel Santos arrives home after a short vacation, he discovers that his weekend renter has failed to checkout–at least in the usual sense. By Wednesday, Miguel’s uncle is arrested for murder.

That’s when his friend, clever, quick-witted, true-crime writer Leah Nash, steps in. The victim is the owner of SweetMeets, a website for sugar daddies in search of college-age sugar babies. An eyewitness places Miguel’s uncle at the murder scene, and police uncover a motive he was anxious to hide. But, it turns out that he isn’t the only resident of Himmel, Wisconsin with something to hide.

In her most complex investigation to date, Leah must use all the smarts—and smart-assery—she has to find the killer’s true identity. When she does, things come together in a tense climax that tests her courage and reveals some dark and dangerous secrets beneath her small town’s surface.

You’ll find plenty of twists and turns, some surprising developments on the personal front for Leah, and an ending that opens the door to a new phase in her life.

This is the soft launch of the book, wherein I beg and plead for readers to write a review on Amazon. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but reviews are critical to selling books, and selling books is what keeps a series going. So, if you like the book, I hope you’ll post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I appreciate every single one of them. (If you don’t like the book, let’s just forget I asked.)

Also, if you have friends or family who share your taste in mysteries, please tell them about Dangerous Secrets, It’s available in both ebook and paperback on Amazon exclusively for the next three months. After that, it will be on other platforms as well: Nookbooks, Kobo, and iBooks.

And now, it’s time for my nap. Happy reading, all.