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    Sunday, February 15, 2009

    A Gutsy Romance Writer Girl Digging Deep Then Deeper Still

    There are times in a writer's life when digging deep just doesn't cut it. You gotta dig deeper still and force that gutsy romance writer girl to get your muses out of self-pityville and back onto the red carpet, you-know-you-got-it-in-ya road. Well, this week was one of those aha moments from Hell.

    It went something like this...and trust me, I'm saving you bunches of drama in this brief recap: I wrote an article on which I'd worked my butt off brainstorming the concept for and gave it my all and then a bunch more. I polished that puppy 'til my voice ricocheted off every word. I nailed the humor...well, for my intended audience, and here's where the aha moment from Hell reared its Medusa-like head. Evidently, so my not-so-gracious non-fans told me, I had the audacity to toss my work out there.

    It's funny how the same article meets such vastly different reactions. The same words both annihilated and revered. The same day, as a writer, you feel horrified and glorified.

    But aha from Hell be damned. You've just discovered the proverbial lining in your doubt cloud. When you create something that completely polarizes the opinion pool, you've got a hit in your ingenious hands. Here's why: the comments garnered by my article went from extremes like 'I've never been more appalled and disturbed' to 'This is great stuff. So fun and a sure hit. Your voice is a riot. Could you give us more to put in our international newsletter?' When the predominance of comments are along the great stuff line and that audience is not only cheering you on but anxious to read more, you've nailed your natural voice and style.

    Which brings me back to the intended audience's what I learned (the beyond tough way) and hope to pass along to other writers who haven't yet hit this big ass bump in their journey to best-sellerdom and red carpet premieres.

    As a writer, no matter what it is you write or how you write it (meaning your voice and personal style on the page), know your intended audience. Accept that the people who don't 'get you' never will, and that these same people will not only not 'get you' but will be highly offended by your voice. And once you get all this...Get Over It...Move On...Stay with the Audience Who Loves You and Gets You...and Keep Producing More in that Voice of Only Yours that Makes Many People LOL. Don't discourage your muses with your detractors. Rather encourage them to keep going for the gusto with their fans.

    So, as a gutsy romance writer girl, I sucked up the harsh criticism, shored up my sexy, sassy, smart muses and let them keep bootscootin' to their own beat.

    After being on the hurtful receiving end of an aha moment from Hell, I'll never stomp on someone's muses like the stiletto spikes I sustained in this battle.

    I found my fans -- my intended audience. Those are the readers I'll continue to write for and laugh with.

    Sexy, Sassy, Smart Wishes --- D. D. Scott




    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Probable Cause

    Probable cause is the standard used by police officers when deciding to arrest a person. Probable cause is defined as "A necessary element of a legitimate arrest or legal search and seizure; a reasonable ground to believe that someone is committing or has committed an offense". When determining if probable cause exists for an arrest, the courts use the "reasonable man" approach. Basically, would a man of reasonable caution, with the information available at the time, believe that a crime or offense was being or had been committed. Probable cause is unique in each instance. It's the known facts at the time, under the circumstances surrounding the offense.

    A hypothetical example: An officer is dispatched to a house regarding a burglary in progress. Upon arrival, he sees a broken window. A guy wearing a ski mask is climbing out of the window carrying a crow bar in one hand and a stereo in the other. The owner of the house is pointing at the guy saying "He's stealing my stereo". There's probably enough probable cause to arrest the guy. However, say the officer is dispatched to the burglary and is also told that a stereo had been stolen. While driving to the house, he sees a man walking down the street in close proximity to the house and carrying a stereo in his hands. Is there enough probable cause to make an arrest? Probably not. The officer would certainly be correct and within constitutional standards in detaining the individual for a reasonable time, while trying to gain more information, but probably would not have enough information to make an immediate arrest. However, probable cause can be developed. Does the man match the description of the perpetrator, can the owner identify the stereo the man is carrying, does he have cuts on his skin (climbing out of the window), does the pattern on the soles of his shoes match shoe prints at the scene, etc.

    Probable cause is a Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution issue: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures (an arrest is considered a "seizure"), shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized".

    The Fourth Amendment is contained in the "Bill of Rights" which was ratified on December 15, 1791. Its an old but good standard. Our forefathers had their act together.

    BTW, My brother got the cartoon from a local newspaper. I presume the officer has probable cause...

    Things not to say to a police officer: "Aren't you the guy from the Village People"?

    Let's be careful out there.