I Am What I Say I Am

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 61 Comments


My son sent me a link to a study by WalletHub that ranked West Virginia (our home state) as the worst place to live. He was shocked.
I was too. We can usually count on Mississippi, Kentucky, or Alabama to carry the honor.
"We're the worst, huh?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "I didn't realize it was so bad here..."
"Fuggitabout it," I said. "People love to tell people how sucky their lives are. Ignore it and be happy."
He was satisfied.
But I wasn't.
I've been sick of these sort of "studies" since I was in college.
My first week at Marshall University, I got a letter from my adviser to go to a seminar for first generation college students (neither of my parents graduated college). I dutifully went and took my place among the other first generationers. The professor took the podium and commenced giving us the sh*ttiest pep talk ever. It seemed, as first generationers, we were doomed to failure. The statistics proved that very few of us would finish. Not only did we NOT come from households that were understanding and conducive to the education experience,but we were also-- GASP-- from the Appalachian region of the nation. The way this guy talked, the only people with a scarier start were the ones living in boxes in Detroit.
I started to think this little talk was worse than a waste of my time. It was detrimental to my psyche. I mean would I tell a runner who's lined up at the starting line, "Whoa, dudette, you look way chunkier than everyone else here, so we're going to ask you to untie your shoes and run backward, so when you fail, you won't take it personally."
Thanks, but no thanks.
I refused to return for the rest of the meetings.
I don't see the point of negative thinking. As a lifetime resident of the Mountain State, I've grown up hearing all about our failures. Personally, I think the obsession with the negatives is taught too early and too often, handicapping people from the get-go. How is a person supposed to see the stars, much less reach for them, when people keep handing them umbrellas to protect them from the sky they're certain will fall at any time?
Statistics can't tell you who you are and what you're capable of being.

Now, onto the regularly scheduled portion of this post :)

Thanks to our hosts LexaL.G, and Tonja Drecker for this weekly good things check in!  

We went the better part of the week with a half-plugged sewage line. I didn't realize how spoiled I was by such things as flushing toilets and long showers.

My husband snaked the drain; the plumbers snaked the drain; and finally my husband and kids dug up the yard and snaked the drain from the underground clean out.

The clog was fixed and we're back to flushing at will.

That's a very good thing!

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FreeFall_BackworldsBook7_3DSoft release date for FreeFall, Backworlds Book 7, May. Subject to change because life stuff is in flux. Progress is being made. The secrets of the planet Iax are revealed. Craze finds out whether he can ever go home again. War stuff is starting. Oh no! Lots of drama and opera in space.

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Backworlds_BoxCollectionBooks1-3
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Projected release date for Backworlds Collection, Volumes 1-3, end of February. Again depending on life stuff being in flux. Started reading through them and marking up any stray typos. Getting it ready for formatting.

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What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

And I leave you with a gorgeous parting image of MURDER (open with death, close with death...)
The amazing COVER REVEAL (and new covers) for Yolanda Renee's MURDER collection!

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.

As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind. The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being. Steven bolts…

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.

Yolanda's first two MURDER novels:





MURDER & OBSESSION, Book Three 
to be released March 10.


61 comments:

  1. That is the dumbest thing to tell a bunch of new college students. Negative reinforcement like that never works. Build someone up, don't tear someone down.
    Some great new covers there!

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    1. I have never understood why telling people the cards are stacked against them was a good idea. Tell them it's hard, tell them it will take work- but tell them it happens by people willing to work. I mentioned this to another professor in an Econ class, and he gave us the delayed gratification message. That was way more uplifting. Basically, if you're willing to work hard and suffer in the beginning, the better the pay out in the end. He put the responsibility on me. That was much more motivational.

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  2. Great covers all around. No flushing loo would suck indeed. Wow, that is dumb. Statistics are all horse crap anyway, they can be bent to someone's will easy enough. Unless you actually go and ask every single solitary thing/person/whatever in what you are trying to derive they will never be accurate.

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    1. I agree. I;m not sure who they're polling. Though I'm sure WV has a lot of negative thinking. I mean, you can only hear how bad you are so often before you start to believe it.

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  3. I'm shaking my head at that negative talk. Boo! I agree 100% with you, Elizabeth! Love all those great covers. :) Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. No sense being negative!! Aren't they lovely covers? so much goodness out there.

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  4. My family, and my husbands family are from WV. I too was a first generation college grad and I understand where you're coming from. I was once asked what college I graduated from - West Liberty State College, now West Liberty University of West Liberty, WV. The grunt and sudden jerk and rise of her nose almost had me calling 911. I feel sorry for such people - happiness isn't ever going to be within their reach - they have no idea what it means, they're too busy trying to reach a standard that exists only in their mind.
    Thanks for the double shout out! Just one favor - could you change the name Cherie Collier to Crystal - the first notice went out with a mistake. Thanks!

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    1. I didn't realize you were from WV. I live in the Northern Panhandle, so I am very familiar with Wes Lib and I would never turn my nose up at it. My sister, my nephew and his wife graduated from there.

      I'll most certainly fix the error!

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  5. Replies
    1. What Mac? You didn't love it? It didn't knock you off your feet?

      Hehe. You should know a woman doesn't forget. Your cover was stupendous, by the way- thought I'd just throw that out there. :)

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  6. Gosh, when I was younger I had wanted to move to Alabama at one point and Kentucky at another. I think every place can be bad...and is bad. I wonder how they base these studies.

    Yay for all of those awesome books!

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    1. Kentucky is a gorgeous state. I've never had the pleasure of visiting Alabama, but I have family there and they love it. I sometimes think they pick on the southern states. LOL

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  7. Idaho has been ranked one of the best places to live. It also has been ranked to have the rudest drivers in the US. Gotta love statistics!

    What I do love is your approach to focusing on the positive. Keep it up, girl!

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    1. I thought Pittsburgh had that honor of rudest drivers? They even have signs that warn you to watch out for aggressive drivers.

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  8. Love the covers and the post.
    Yvonne.

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  9. I think I saw that study and Ohio was the second worst place to live. So we're miserable and pathetic together LOL.
    Glad the sewer problem is fixed. What a nightmare!

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    1. I was born in Ohio. Maybe I am dragging the gloom with me. LOL

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  10. Sigh. Yes, I know what you mean. People just love to knock other people's chances, and people just love using that lack of belief as an excuse.

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    1. I suppose they think they're helping, but geesh. I think not. And you're right- it gives an easy excuse for people who don't want to try.

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  11. Sometimes I think those "studies" have an ax to grind. I'd love to visit West Virginia:) I live in San Francisco, and believe me we get some pretty biased impressions in the media. But everywhere I go I find people are just people, and usually nice people at that:) Have a great weekend!

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    1. I believe you're a genius! Everywhere I go, people are just people. Some have different accents, but for the most part, they're all just wanting to live a happy life and provide a good life for their families.

      I'd love to visit San Francisco too. I know you get more sun than we do!

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  12. I would have hated that speech too. Does anything good happen from negative thoughts? If so I've never heard of it. There are so many things we can change in our lives. We're much happier people if we take charge of our lives and improve what we can.

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    1. Yep. We need to encourage people to work to keep working at their goals.

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  13. So true Liz. Negative reinforcement is very damaging to anyone, particularly to a group of young college kids. Glad you got your drain fixed. Must have got a bit pongy round your house LOL. We are spoiled aren't we, jump in the shower, flush the loo run washers or dishwashers without a thought. The anthology will be a great read. Yolanda has certainly come up with some pretty horrific tales to frighten her readers. The covers are good, similar but not the same.

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    1. I'm definitely spoiled. I really take my luxuries for granted. We were able to stay clean. We could flush, but not too often. and we could shower but it had to be a quick get in, get out sort of affair. On the bright side, I didn't shave my legs for a week.

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  14. We're having toilet issues at my house. Let's just say my room got flooded. Twice. Anyway thinking positive is important and warning people is not the same as dumping negativity all over them. That study you had to sit through was stupid. My dad went to college, mom to university and I as first University attendee by force ended up dropping out. My sibs then went on to attend and graduated. So those stats told you nada. Glad you left Liz. Much love and stay true.

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    1. I hope your toilet issues get fixed. It's such a pain! Ours would flush, but then if you flushed too soon after that, it would all come up in the basement. Gross!

      You can't force people to go to college. They have to want it for themselves. And I know plenty of people who never went who are highly successful. The important thing is doing what you enjoy and working hard at it.

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  15. This sentence pretty much sums up the entire essence of my philosophy this year.

    "How is a person supposed to see the stars, much less reach for them, when people keep handing them umbrellas to protect them from the sky they're certain will fall at any time?"

    An excellent thought very well written!

    and congrats on getting the drain fixed :-)

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed that. I felt it was inspired :)

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  16. I love your idea about not being able to reach for the stars if everyone keeps handing you an umbrella since the "sky is falling." I'm glad you realized how damaging negative thinking is. (And I think the Midwestern States are way worse than Virginia.)

    Wow - that's a lot of drain snaking. Great you got it fixed.

    I love Mary's new cover! And Yolanda's and the IWSG are awesome too! Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. I wouldn't want to move west because I love the Atlantic and will move no farther away from it.

      It was a lot of drain snaking. I'm still waiting on the bill from the plumbers. I may have a heart attack when it arrives.

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  17. Lots of awesome reads! Glad you got the drain worked out. Talk about a pain...and a nightmare. That's definitely worth celebrating!

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    1. I thought it was. When my son came in and said, "Dad wants you to run water, he thinks he got it." I believe I danced.

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  18. I heard a joke about WVa being horrible the other day and I don't get it. "Take me home country roads," right?! I was born in West Virginia, seriously--Buckhannon. I've only been back once, to Charleston to visit one of my husband's relatives. I'd love to actually SEE Buckhannon someday, but I guess it doesn't matter. My parents left there when I was too young to remember and we ended up settling in Tennessee, where I've lived most of my life.

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    1. When I was younger, the jokes and the negativity would embarrass me. I mean Wrong Turn was supposed to be in WV. But then I realized no one escapes being made fun of in some way or another. It is a beautiful state. And I love the people, loyalty and neighborliness seem to be common traditions.

      Buckhannon is gorgeous. Chad and I had our first anniversary at Audra State Park. Beautiful place.

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  19. Lovely post, Liz!
    So true...I often feel stupid, and wonder what on earth am I doing writing such boring stories...but I'm working on it.
    Thank you for the reminder that I'm not alone.

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    1. I think this posted in the wrong place...it was meant for the IWSG post?

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    2. I did that last week too! I suppose great minds think and mess up alike :)

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  20. Completely agree. Statistics like that are just dumb and really don't prove anything. They assume you can categorize people and put them into a box, but no one ever seems to understand that everyone is completely unique. You can predict/categorize a lot of things, but not people. We come from a hometown where your average person is a farmer with an 8th grade education. Does that look like either of us?

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    1. I don't know, throw on some bibs and grab a pitchfork and I'll make my final decision.

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  21. I'm with you, Elizabeth. Ignore that negative stuff and be happy.

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  22. Hi Elizabeth,

    A very thoughtful post, my kind friend. Negative energy is something we all need to distance ourselves from. Apparently, I live in one of the most deprived area of England. Well, they go that wrong because the folks I associate with here are certainly not deprived of positive energy.

    Thanks for all the links and superb covers.

    Gary :)

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    1. Same here. The people I live among may not be highly respected by some people, but I see people who are self-reliant, family focused, and loyal. Those things aren't always factored into the things the pollsters value, like income and education.

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  23. UGH. I hate the "you will fail" speech. why not just show me a few tools that will help me succeed instead. So fortunate that your husband and sons are handy! Flushing is necessary!!

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    1. Exactly! I'm fine with a "it's gonna be tough, but you can do it" speech.

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  24. Great book news and yay for unclogged pipes.

    I remember being in high school in the early 1990s and told that I was part of a loser, slacker generation. Meanwhile, years later Gen X'ers were accomplishing amazing things.

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    1. Yep. I think I am on the old end of Gen X and people were just certain we were going to ruin the world. That whole Valley Girl phase might have caused the worry.

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  25. I don't understand why a college or university would allow a professor to even make a speech like that. Everyone in that room either paid to be there, took out a huge loan to be there, or studied their ass off for a scholarship to be there. He could have said that as first generation college students you MAY not have the support from home you'd like, but don't allow that to slow you down because you've worked hard to be here. Go out there and show them that you deserve to be here. You want to be here. You will succeed.

    I was a first generation student in my family and I think the opposite was true (on my mom's side). My mom started but didn't finish. Because of that, my grandparents wanted me to go even MORE and to graduate. They recognized the value of an education and were thrilled that their grandchild was doing it.

    Terrible thing to box people into categories and statistics. I bet some people stuck, though, just to prove that jerk wrong.

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    1. I think they meant well, but it was a seriously depressing way to go about it.

      I talked to another professor about it and he gave the good speech- the people who don't make it are the ones who give up. Period the end. If you are willing to keep working and delay making money and having fun- you will do it. It's that simple. The longer you delay the gratification, the bigger the pay out.

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  26. What a load of horse manure! I reckon W.Virginia looks like a wonderful place to live. And that pep talk you were given at college? Jeeze! Can you believe some people?? I love that you're a positive thinker, just like me :D
    xx
    www.suzyturner.com

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  27. What a horrible way to abuse power - glad you never returned to those meetings. "Research" is fun (though never truly valid) only when you can boast about the findings.
    Love ya, gal.

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    1. Oh yeah, when the stats look good on you- that's a whole different story. :)

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  28. My tiny town was once named as the best place to live in a national newspaper. It really isn't. I don't know why they insist on comparing - do they expect everyone to up sticks from the worst to go to the best? (It was only one year, we were usurped the next!)

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    1. I'd love to visit your tiny town! It sounds wonderful to me.

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  29. First, thanks for the shoutouts. My life goes into total upheaval next week. So those dates may be a tad optimistic. No, I'm not sweating...

    Second, as you know, I spent some years in WV. I have the fondest memories of it. What is so wrong with it? I think people have a negative view of it. You know what? Keep your negative view, because it'll keep people out. Which can be a good thing. Our town is so overrun and they ruined it. You don't want that. Trust me. Remain a hidden jewel. :)

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    1. Best of luck hitting your goals! I believe in you.

      That is one thing about WV- they do NOT much like outsider influence. If the people have their way, we'll stay a hidden jewel.

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  30. Way to be an optimist and ignore the nay sayers. I often speculate that the only walls that exist are the ones we build around ourselves. Our potential is only as limited as our perspective.

    Gosh, I should share our "plumbing" story some time--right after we moved into a new house. (Not this one thankfully.) My story should be in a book for how crazy it was. Clearing a clogged line shouldn't involve drilling holes into your cement foundation. Or a trapped snake camera. Or working until 3 AM with the plumber.

    Such awesome releases coming out. *bounces in anticipation*

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    1. My husband was getting worried that it was the plumbing under the concrete that was the problem. He was already planning a re-route of the sewage lines rather than busting up the basement floor. We also had a broken snake. Sewage line problems are a nightmare!

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