Refugee Fear

Mercy Corps

Back in 2012, when I was still living in the States, I remember listening to the news about the people of Syria. Extremists were slaughtering hundreds of innocent women and children daily. Slaughtering. Innocence. Maybe it was because I had recently lost my mother, but this really upset and bothered me. I mentioned to several people that I didn’t understand why the U.S. or other countries weren’t helping these people. One of my friends asked, “Why should we?” In return, I said, “Because it’s the right thing to do. It isn’t any different from the Holocaust. We’re still talking about the horrors of the Nazi regime, which took place over 70-years ago, yet the horrors are still taking place today. Countries should be in there stopping these mass killings.”

Fast forward to 2015, and people are pissed, and oppose taking in refugees. I say to all citizens in the U.S. and Europe, turn your anger toward your government. If all these governments hadn’t sat on their asses for years now, letting the extremists build in strength and slaughter thousands, the people of Syria wouldn’t have left their homes. Other countries wouldn’t be arguing over taking in refugees. Wouldn’t it be smart to put out the fire instead of people fleeing and other countries feeling an economic strain?

Quick facts about the Syria crisis: https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/iraq-jordan-lebanon-syria-turkey/quick-facts-what-you-need-know-about-syria-crisis

In the U.S.

I have spoken to several people in the U.S. regarding the refugee crisis. They heard how Germany had taken in hundreds of thousands, and could sympathize with Germans who oppose the refugee migration.

Getty Images – http://www.independent.co.uk/

The one thing that really bothers me is when people claim fear as a reason to refuse refugees into the country because some might be terrorists. But terrorists are the least of the U.S. problems. Obama and past presidents keep talking about the horrors of mass shootings yet haven’t taken action. One should think we would have woken up after Columbine and the government should have made it a priority. Sandy Hook. Twenty killed and the others scarred for life. Government should start working on the important issues: gun control, gangs, mental illness, and illegal immigration.

Instead, mass shootings increase each year. Shootings are considered a mass shooting if 4 or more are shot and/or killed, not including the shooter. In 2015, there were over 300 mass shootings in the U.S.http://www.shootingtracker.com/Main_Page: 367 killed and 1,317 injured.

Since 9/11, there were nine terrorist attacks in the U.S.http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/05/terrorist-attacks-by-islamists-in-the-us-since-911: 46 killed and 321 injured.

The fear of refugee terrorists doesn’t have much validity when you look at the bigger picture. Just like Donald Trump doesn’t have much validity, but is using fear to gain ground in politics. He is suggesting the outrageous because … well, he is outrageous, just look at his hair. When we give into fear, we will wind up imploding.

The problem isn’t the refugees coming into the country, but militant extremists who had left to fight with ISIS then returned. Those people are a threat to national security, not the ones running for their lives. Make it known to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents that if anyone travels to extremist countries, they will not be allowed into the U.S. for a year and will be monitored. This doesn’t affect their rights because we already do this for diseases. Citizens are tested and quarantined regarding outbreaks, such as Ebola. Terrorism is an outbreak too.

In Germany

Merriam Webster’s definition of refugee

“one that flees; especially :  a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution ref·u·gee·ism play \-ˌi-zəm\ noun

I have a friend who isn’t happy about the refugee crisis. She doesn’t care for Angela Merkel, especially her decision to open Germany’s borders to the  refugees. My friend and I were discussing the refugees in Germany. She started complaining about Romanians where she lives, who throw their garbage all over the place. I stopped her and said that Romanians are part of the EU. They are allowed to live in Germany as long as they can earn their keep. If not, then the government sends them back. It’s not fair or correct to lump them in with refugees. These people didn’t want to leave their countries, but had to for their own safety. They’d love to go back home. On top of suffering through the elements to get to safer lands, there are anti-refugee groups in Germany wreaking havoc on some refugee camps.

I understand the frustration (U.S. has their own welfare issues) knowing some people migrate to Germany to live off the welfare system, but those are EU migrants taking advantage of the situation. Germany has taken in around 1.1 million refugees (Syrian, Afghanistan, and Iraq). Due to slow processing, others have hopped on the coat tails of the refugees.

Activist Post

It’s taking so long to process these refugees, but it’s partly the local government’s fault. Where I go for my German Visa, the offices are only opened until noon, except for one day. Maybe if they extended their hours during this crisis, the processing of refugees would move much faster. Plus, tweaking the policies a bit to fit the crisis would help too. While they’re waiting, give these people some community work for a small compensation, so they’re not sitting around day in and day out. It would help them get to know where they’re at and spruce up the city. Trust me, there’s lots of garbage all over the place that could be cleaned up.

On top of slow processing, it’s mandatory for all children and teens to attend school. My husband is teaching German to one refugee class, and the school is receiving two more classes, but other teachers are teaching Physics, Math, etc. Some of my husband’s colleagues can’t believe how clueless the refugees are in their subjects. Really? How the hell is anyone supposed to take different courses when they don’t even understand the language? Concentrate on teaching German, integrate them into society, and then worry about other subjects.

Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

The refugee crisis is frightening because of the sheer numbers pouring in. But governments, who we all vote for, are responsible for keeping us safe, along with taking care of those in desperate need. That’s why we vote for them, so we should also hold them accountable. Don’t point your finger at someone who is struggling, when chaos occurs because of poor government choices, planning, and organization.

Humanity and Understanding,
Baer Necessities

First/Opening Lines of Fiction Novels

The significance of first opening lines is crucial for fiction novels. As Stephen King has stated, “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this…It’s a quick introduction to the writer’s style, another thing good first sentences tend to do.

But for me, a good opening sentence really begins with voice. A novel’s voice is something like a singer’s – think of singers like Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan, who have no musical training but are instantly recognizable. An appealing voice achieves an intimate connection — a bond much stronger than the kind forged, intellectually, through crafted writing.”

Even though I’ve never read a Stephen King book to tell whether I like his voice, I posted his input because many in the writing industry admire his works and guidance regarding writing.

Today, I have collected first lines from authors, and asked them to explain why they believe it’s a good opening line based off the Writer’s Digest, 7 Ways to Create a Killer Opening Line for Your Novel.

1) Genre: Humor\Satire: “If you’ve never spent a quiet evening in a padded cell, you haven’t missed much. It’s really quite boring.” Conversations with Larry Xenomorph by Jay Cole

This fits nicely with the ‘Statement that serves as a frame’ category. The narrator is obviously in a padded cell, and yet, there’s no attitude of fear or stress. He’s bored with his circumstance. There must be a story behind this incarceration.

2) Genre: Erotic Fiction: “The forest exhaled a pungent odor only sunlight could subdue, but sunlight would not grace the wicked until this deed had been done.” The Mark by Arla Dahl

I spent an entire writing day working on the opening paragraph of THE MARK. I was going for mood and tone with the first line, and was imagining where my characters were, emotionally, before the book actually started. I’m hoping those first words set readers firmly in that same place.

3) Genre: Fantasy Romance: “They always scream.” No Place Like Home by Mysti Parker

This line is a statement of simple fact laced with significance. From the main villain’s POV, it demonstrates she has committed a scream-worthy crime more than once and may be rather bored with her prey. This villain longs for a challenge, which our heroes are willing to deliver.

4) Genre: Historical Romance: “I was twenty-one years old when I sold my baby.” Songbird by Julia Bell

This corresponds with Point 4 – Statement of Simple Fact laced with Significance. It’s the nub of the story and since the heroine is a widow with a young son, I hope it draws the reader in to thinking she’s about to sell her child.

5) Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy: “SOMEWHERE. The crystalline chamber opened and the male emerged from his rest cycle.” Sidereus Nuncius by Ethan Howard

This opening line is significant because it deal with the main character and his origins are shrouded in mystery. The fact that he wakes up in a crystalline chamber and referred to as “the male” seems unimportant at the time, but by the time the read gets to Book Three, this little statement will have major ramifications.

6) Genre: Science Fiction: “It was barely eight in the morning, and Professor Charles Ainsley Hawthorne was already having a bad day.” Tiamat’s Nest by Ian S. Bott

The opening sentence is a statement of simple fact that sums up Charles’s situation, and encapsulates not only the narrative but also the backstory leading up to it. At the same time, it introduces the main character and hints at conflict to come.

7) Genre: YA Fantasy: “He hated them.” Royal Deception by Denae Chrstine

This is a statement of simple fact, the second type of opening line described in Writer’s Digest. This line doesn’t bother telling the reader who “he” is, or even who “them” refers to. This first line merely encompasses someone’s motivations without going into all the cluttering details.

8) Genre: Psychological Women’s Fiction (with Erotic Content): “The breath of the passengers created a layer of condensation on the windows of the plane obscuring his view of the city.” The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire

The sentence appears to be a statement of simple fact. After learning he is a sociopath, whose nature is concealed from his victims, the sentence becomes laced with significance. The condensation a metaphor that establishes mood.

9) Genre: Spiritual Science Fiction/Fantasy: “Ilo Sungila felt he could see all of war-torn Mozambique from the hilltop of his new agricultural supply store.” Seeking the Light of Justice by Dr. Barry Nadel

The first line opens with an authentic Bantu name. It tells us about the sorry history of the country; war and destruction. However, the sentence ends with hope, optimism, and courage. It fits the first principle : A statement of eternal principle. That principle is that there is always hope.

10) Genre: Historical Science Fiction: “Pallas Athene was in disgrace, but she felt that it was worth every gram of it for she had immortalized herself, starting over three thousand years before she was born.” Athene’s Prophecy by Ian J Miller

Reason I think it is good:  Pallas Athene is known as a Goddess, but this throws everything about the Greek mythology out the window and at the same time, it sets an obvious SF the story into the future.

11) Genre: Elfrotica: “Zing!” Breakers of the Code by CB Archer

My first line is a statement that is used to establish mood. Not only is a description of what is happening, an arrow taking flight, but it also sets the tone for the book. You are going to hear a lot of ‘Zingers’!

12) Genre: Action & Adventure: “I wake up in an unfamiliar place.” The Forest in the Mirror by Abigayl Fincel

The first line in my book is a simple fact that is also key to how the story progresses. With the opening paragraph, I aimed to convey just how lost the character is by a series of short, simple observations like this one.

13) Genre: Thriller: “The congregation extended out in all directions; each face basked in a wash of neon, every breath a vapor in the cold, December night.” The Day and The Hour by Presley Acuna

It works as an opener because it establishes a mood which will persist through much of the tale. A tension of discomfort against ceremony, tradition, superficial appearance masking the underlying thrum of darker pinnings.

14) Genre: Literary Fiction: “Six-year-old Lily dashed into the servants’ quarter of the stately mansion.” The Triumphant Life – A Story of Love and Courage by Jin-Chen Camilla Wang

This is a statement of simple fact that introduces the historical tragedy and personal tragedies that are to follow; tragedies that are triumphantly overcome through love and courage.

15) Genre: Literary Fiction: “God entered Freud’s consulting room.” Operation Cosmic Teapot by Dylan Callens

It’s a statement of simple fact and carries with it the weight of what God is about to endure.

16) Genre: Paranormal Romance: “The diaphanous fabric that clung to her waiflike form did little to negate the coldness of the cavernous chamber.” An Unexpected Bonding by Lilly Rayman

I believe I have used a statement to set the mood for the reader, allowing the reader to get a feel for my language and narrative, allowing the reader to feel my writing style immediately.

17) Genre: Historic, Contemporary & Paranormal Fiction: “Is she dying?” Lilyanna Thorne asked, a sense of dread tightening around her heart.” Ripples – Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore by BonSue Brandvik

Immediately, the mood is tense. The thought that “She” is in peril creates a sense of dread. Even before the reader learns who is in danger or why anyone would hold back vital information from the protagonist, the reader senses something bad is about to happen.

18) Genre: Western Police Procedural/Family Saga: “At least try to keep ‘im quiet! Can you do that for me?” The desk sergeant, Ben Ortega, raised both hands in frustration and gave up on the booking form.” Back to Santa Fe by W.T. Durand

This opening was chosen to simply set a mood of conflict in a modern setting in the Southwestern US.

19) Genre: Children’s Book: “About 3 months ago my dad got transfer to Missamari and his last date for reporting was 29th of June.” The 2 Days Struggle by Harshit Singh

It’s a statement of fact regarding my father’s transfer.

20) Genre: Historical Fiction: “The air carried a fetid odor and a fine ash fell over the camp.” Face of the Angel by Scott Skipper

A statement to establish mood, given that only the most uninformed reader would fail to know exactly what the odor and ash is.

21) Genre: Dark, Psychological Suspense Thriller: “Mental institutions don’t relieve the mind of misery, they only create more chaos where overcrowding exists.” Net Switch by Denise Baer

This opening line is a statement of simple fact laced with significance. The significance becomes relevant as the story progresses up until the end. It’s the key to unlocking the entire novel.

***

Also, check out the First/Opening Lines of Novels on Pinterest. If any of these first lines captured your attention, please don’t hesitate to click on the title of the book to learn more, and possibly buy it in support of that author’s voice. These books cost less than a Grande Latte at Starbucks and are much more fulfilling.

Fiction and First Lines,
Baer Necessities

An Artistic Soul

An author of hope and possibility, Diamante Lavendar is leaving a mark in the world expressing herself through creative means. I’m not surprised since lavender is a plant of hope and possibility. Hope to relieve pain and rid stress. As always, I enjoyed this interview, so please give a warm homemade baked bread welcome to Diamante.

Describe yourself in 150 words or less.

I’m a kindhearted, artistic person who’s been through a lot. I’ve experienced deep valleys and high mountains in life….looking to experience more high mountains because they’re a lot of fun! The deep valleys…not so much! I love to write, paint, draw, spend time with loved ones, swim, garden and cook! I also have a day job that takes up a lot of my time!

I am also deeply spiritual and try to be as understanding as I possibly can since I realize we are all works in progress. I’m also deeply grateful for my readers and followers!

If you didn’t decide to become a writer, what else would you like to be when you grow up?

An artist or a cook! Or maybe even a professional landscaper!

Tell us about your published works.

Secrets Book CoverThe Secrets of Yashire is my first published book. It is a YA fantasy story sprinkled with life insights and a good dose of dry/slapstick type humor. It is about a young girl stuck in a fantasy realm after she is involved in a horrible accident.

Breaking The Silence is my life story written in a fictional, Resized BTS Covermemoir type of format. It addresses issues of sexual and psychological abuse and speaks of the importance of faith and hope in healing.

Name one thing on your bucket list.

To be a best selling author!

Do you belong to any critique groups?

I belonged to several critique groups in the past but am not affiliated with any at the present time.

If you were a picture, which room in the house do you want to be in and why?

The living room because I’d like to share in family activities. It would be the most exciting room in the house!

In regards to writing, what are you working on now?

I’m in the editing stages of my fantasy/paranormal/coming of age story entitled Parallel Universe. It takes place in medieval times and is the story of a young man named Damien Rouse as he comes to terms with the fact that he is to be the next seer of his village of Rathclag. Parallel Universe is due to be published this spring.

Is there anything in particular that you refuse to write about, such as sex or mannequins?

I would never write erotica or horror.

Where in the virtual world can people find you and/or meet for a chat?

Google +, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Myspace. I also just started an Instagram account that is taking off quite nicely.

When you’re feeling kinda down, what song do you put on to get you motivated?

I actually listen to Christian rock most of the time. But I also love opera, classical music and classic rock too. It all depends on how bad of a funk I’m in.

Author Website: http://www.diamantelavendar.com

Wishes and Bestseller,
Baer Necessitites

What Makes Writers Scream

Question: Are you still writing?

graphics-circus-397078Answer: Nope. I stopped when the circus came to town. They needed a roadie so I figured why not. I could use the experience in case I don’t become a NYT Bestselling Author, I receive an eviction notice, or I’m eating out of restaurant garbage bins. The skills will open the doors for me to work as a courier for some pompous law firm. Because, hey, writing is just a hobby and it’s important to prepare for the future instead of wasting my time on such silly notions.

Question: What do you write about?

Answer: One could never know too much about the correlation between gratuities and ovulation. Research shows that lap dancers receive more tips at their heightened sexual cycles than any other time. I only examined the grind circle form leaving out the slap and tickle and breast stroke. During ovulation, the dancer’s thongs were loaded with donations.

Question: Someday I’ll write a book. I’m so busy that I probably won’t be able to until I retire. Wouldn’t it be cool if we collaborated?

Answer: Oh yes! That sounds exciting. I can discuss the steps it takes to writing a cohesive book and publishing. After that, you can discuss all the things you did sitting in your cubicle. It’s a win/win. Readers will learn about writing, and the amount of time it takes to learn the craft and the publishing industry, along with learning about your important job.

Question: My life is crazy. You should write about it.

Answer: Sure! I don’t have any other ideas to write about. The enormous amount of book ideas I write down in the journal next to my bed, the short stories I’ve written, manuscripts I’m working on just aren’t that exciting. Let’s sit down so you can tell me about your life, because obviously, I don’t have one.

Question: You wrote a book? It’s too bad I don’t read.

Answer: Are your eyes bad? Are you allergic to paper? Are e-readers too costly? I don’t read is like saying I don’t wipe my ass after I crap. Reading is essential to the mind and soul. It doesn’t matter what you read as long as you read.

Question: So you’re a writer. How much money do you make?

Answer: How much you got? I mean, I’m open to negotiations. I’d hate to tell you the offers I’ve received so far because that might sway you from matching their price. Now toss me an amount, and I’ll tell you if you’re close to what I made in sales last year. Show me the money.

Question: Are you going to be the next J.K. Rowling?

Answer: Definitely. I strive to mimic another writer’s style. There’s a girl I went to band camp with who is nuts, so I called her up and asked her to steal all of Rowling’s notebooks. Using her current books as guides, I can publish her story ideas just by swapping out character names.

Comment: What do you mean you’re busy? You don’t do anything all day.

Answer: Not true. I’ve been trying to regain my memory because I have amnesia after a car accident. My husband has been helping me piece my life together as we reflect back on how we met. I was in rehab, and then we went undercover for several months investigating some drug dealers. I fill my journal with daily things that have happened to me. From living in Chicago to moving to Seattle, I’ve tried to get away from a psycho who has been stalking me. Then I started working some crime cases. There have been three gruesome murders in the City of Chicago. My partner disappeared, and a close friend of mine was in a serious car accident. It’s up to me to solve these cases.

Response: WOW! You have been busy. I didn’t know you were in rehab, let alone, that you have amnesia.

My Response: Oh I don’t. Those are what the characters in my books have been busy doing.

What kind of crazy questions are you asked about your job?

Discussions, Crazy, and Writing,
Baer Necessities