SAME ‘MAN’, DIFFERENT PLAN, Part 26a:”Creating A Nightmare”

September 2, 2018

Four years ago, during 2014 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I dashed off a 50,000-word draft of MAN AFTER MIDNIGHT, a thriller bearing no resemblance to Abba’s classic. The ‘man’ in my story lurks behind profiles of unsuspecting users on the  ‘Man After Midnight’ dating site. Once he arranges a date with a woman, he meets her for drinks which he spikes. At 12:01 a.m., he leaves her body gutted of all female parts before dropping his calling ‘card’ a crude drawing of a clock with its short hand on twelve and the long hand, to one minute after. But, something occurred to me once I read what I had written: that true death involves so much more than just the body.

Now, I am making human trafficking the subject of my story. Already a global pandemic, trafficking degrades women and girls in body,  mind and soul. In fact, actual death might come as a relief.

Despite our expectations, traffickers aren’t always easy to identify, especially if they begin by telling a vulnerable female what she is desperate to hear: that she is beautiful and desirable. Once he reels her in with his honeyed words, he convinces her that he is her very best friend, her only confidante. Only he and he alone truly cares more about her than even her boyfriend, friends, or even parents. He rushes her to the next step: to move in with him or even marry him. He tunes in to her deepest desire and, then, promises to deliver it….or so she believes.

Want to attend college? Send money to family? Dream of modeling, singing, dancing, or acting? Well, you certainly have the figure, voice, legs, or talent for it. Whatever your heart desires, it’s yours.

But his smoldering eyes and gleaming smile mask a deadly secret about. ‘Mr. Wonderful’: that he is a trafficker. When she least expects, that charm, passion, and effortless wit disappear. He spikes her beer, wine, or high-dollar coffee with Rohypnol and tosses her into a van with other terrified women.

Any female, no matter her age, can become a victim before she suspects what is about to happen.

For example, in Man After Midnight, Destiny — my protagonist’s rebellious but virginal teen — goes missing on Halloween night in 2012.

The premise goes like this: When the mother of a teenager learns that her daughter is being auctioned to the highest bidder by 12:01 a.m. on the ‘Dark ‘Net’, she must find the auction and purchase her from ‘The Man’ no later than midnight or become his newest victim, herself.

Thank God, I have never been trafficked. Since I haven’t, I must rely on research. Books, documentaries, and personal experiences of those whose bodies, minds, and souls bear its scars. For the past month, I’ve binge-watched docudramas  and read survivors’ stories. Today’s post, Part 26a, is about my findings.

Meanwhile, as I watched and read true accounts from Theresa Flores, Aubrey Alles, and Jody Paar, I gleaned the following information about ‘the ‘trafficked’:

  • that they can be any age, even children 
  • that they can be of any ethnicity and come from any background
  • that even their families risk being killed

“Ah,” you say. “But that only happens in other countries,”

Whoa. Not so fast. Statistics from 2017 show that, in the United States, alone, human trafficking is a pandemic that now spans the globe.

Today’s traffickers don’t always look ‘sleazy’ . They can be co-workers or supervisors, professors or students, doctors, attorneys, or clergy. Some are  ‘gamers’ posing as teens while they look for latchkey children. Others  ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ their prey on the social media.

Coming up in Part 26b of my blog post, SAME MAN, DIFFERENT PLAN”, Jody Paar will recount her own nightmare in our ‘once-safe‘ United States of America.

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LIVING THE DREAM, Part 10: New Year, New Plans, Newer Adventures!

Comfort, Texas

2-9-18

Greetings from “ComfortableComfort” — still! Now that the holidays are over, our cypress Christmas trees  have been planted in the  RV park, and Yuletide trappings, packed away for next year.

Up ahead for 2018 come new plans, new chapters, and newer adventures.

First, we’re trading our rig — a fifth-wheel RV and Ford F350 pickup — for a pre-owned 36′-40′ Class A Diesel-pusher motorhome with a tow-bar to pull a Jeep or a Subaru. Two months ago, while winter rampaged outside our windows, we browsed Class As online in the comfort of our 2011 Forest River Wildcat. As soon as the sun came out, so did we, venturing to lots in Boerne, Kerrville, and an RV show in San Antonio to explore new and “pre-owned Class A motorcoaches. Although our present rig is cozy, we need more space. Now that we have  played Life by-ear for ten months, we are 99.99999% sure we want to continue our tee-shirt-and-flip-flops lifestyle until someone stumbles over our crunchy, upturned exoskeletons or — Heaven forbid! — our kiddos put one or both of us in a ‘home’. Since we both retired, our home-on-wheels satisfies our urge to roam. So far, we’ve browsed shops and eaten German food in New Braunfels, Gruene, and Wimberley, beachcombed in Port Aransas and enjoyed peaceful small-town Comfort.  In the future, we plan to return to the Texas Gulf Coast, Northeast Texas including the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, El Paso, New Mexico, and Arizona, and the Pacific Northwest, beginning with San Diego. From there on out, who knows?

Besides switching rigs, I’m promoting From Her Mother’s Armsand working on the first sequel, By Her Daughter’sHands, which is in the hands of beta-readers. As soon as I receive their comments and incorporate changes, I plan to jet it off to my publisher and Mothers, Daughters, and Others, the middle part of the story that I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2017.

After Amazon offers my trilogy as a boxed set  by Christmas, I intend to fine-tune my other works: Man After Midnight,  Crimson Feathers, and Suffer the Little Children, all previous NaNoWriMo projects, before launching into White Beaches, Black Ice, a Texas travel-guide mystery series which is yet to be titled, and a thriller set in an RV park with a redheaded author as sleuth.

As for my new ‘chapter’, I am now an author and editor since I  edited a book for a friend. With that project in the bag, I’m looking for authors who have new books  ready for editing for reasonable rates. Already, my new ‘shingle’ is on my author page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Craigslist is a future possibility.

Speaking of publishing, Jeff and I learned when From Her Mother’s Arms was in publication mode, that the publishing process costs money. Lots of it. Editing novels that are least 50,000 words or more at the rate of a penny or penny-and-a-half per word can really help defray publishers’ costs. Although I edit full-length books, I would consider editing shorter works.

Besides for posting ‘for-sale’ signs on our rig, we have also put it on rvtrader.com, for only six more days. One couple drove out from San Antonio to see it, yesterday. More  are driving out, next week. Who knows what can happen after that?

We have had a great year beginning with a whole a new ‘chapter’. We have faith that a new rig and newer adventures are waiting for us up the road.

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