Saturday, December 28, 2013
Target security breach continues to escalate. Yes, right here on my little blog you read about it first. James Martin believed Target was violating his privacy because they zapped his driver's license when checking his age for a wine purchase and then bam! A few days later we all knew that Target compromised its customers' information. At least 40 million admitted customers are in jeopardy of getting scammed by hackers. They say the pin numbers for cash advances are encrypted which supposedly is a good thing. But can't pin numbers be decrypted? Why aren't they talking about the other credit cards that were used? What about all of the information they obtained from scanning other people's driver's licenses? They say the Federal government has stepped in to handle the mess-the Federal Trade Commission to be exact. Interesting choice... Target lured shoppers into signing up for their credit/debit cards by giving 5% discount. It's a small price to pay for everyone's information. Could this be an inside job? Could this be a trial run for quicker and easier ways to gain personal information? Store loyalty cards-credit cards might already be hooked up with the government. Didn't we learn anything about Verizon and Google? Could this story be more than meets the eye? Leave a comment.
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
A close friend of mine, James Martin, had an experience with Target that makes me want to scream! To begin with, James is 52 years old, white, Christian, politically Independent, and likes to pay cash for his purchases.
Yesterday James went to the Super Target by his father's house in Streamwood, Illinois on Route 59 to buy a bottle of wine. The cashier asked him for his I.D. Although James thought the request was ridiculous, he obliged, figuring the cashier was just doing his job. James whipped out his driver's license and handed it over. The cashier took the scanner and zapped the barcode on the back of the license.
For the record, James had NO intention of writing a check or charging the wine. That kind of payment option would alter my entire rant. James wanted to pay in cash. Once his license was scanned, Target had his name, birthdate, social security, address, and license number stored inside of the cash register/computer.
|Target Sucks the Big Wazoo!|
James was very upset and no longer wanted to buy the wine. He demanded to have his information deleted from the system. The cashier called over the manager. Both failed to delete the information they ILLEGALLY (at least in my opinion) obtained. Staying true to his right to privacy, James verbally fought to have his personal business erased. He asked the people behind him if they would want their personal information in the Target computer if they were paying with cash. To his surprise, they didn't seem concerned about compromising their security. Has all of the people turned into sheeple?
Long story short-James pays with cash in order to maintain his privacy and prevent stores from profiling him. Apparently, his brand of common sense is dissolving in America.
Did you ever notice that the website you were looking at all of a sudden appears on the side of your emails or Facebook feed? Did you ever receive a coupon in the mail for a product that you recently charged at a chain retail store? Why does every store have a store loyalty card that you have to sign up for and scan in order to receive a discount? I'm sick to death of it. My wallet is not big enough to carry all of the store cards that I was financially blackmailed into getting.
|Let the Profiling Begin!|
Did you know your purchases can be used against you? Not only can supermarkets sell your information, but can also use it as evidence in court. Von's Supermarket in California pulled up a man's alcohol purchases to defend themselves against a slip and fall lawsuit. The case never went to court, but... Very slippery, dangerous slope we are heading down!
So who is interested in you and what you buy? The Direct Marketing Association for one. They are one of the biggest groups that profile your purchases. They have somehow managed to get around privacy laws with consumer "opt-out" clauses that most consumers don't even know about.
And let's not be naive. If Target, Direct Marketing, and others can profile you by what you buy, then so can the government. Although there are laws to prevent this, the government can purchase information from the private sector. Companies such as Experian and ChoicePoint have multi-million dollar contracts that sell your information to good ol' Uncle Sam.
Think real hard about this. With a couple of key strokes, one can find out your hobbies, your income, your health, your style, your family, your career, your religion, your...EVERYTHING! Another step towards New World Order? Love to hear what you think.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Blood and Gold, Book 3 in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series
by Hawk MacKinney
|$20 GC for One Lucky Random Comment!|
Blood and Gold, the third book in The Craige Ingram Mystery Series, once again tests the instincts and skills of retired Navy SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram. Lust, greed, body parts and unrestrained wild sex parties are what await Craige Ingram when he leaves the comforts of his South Carolina home to visit his former SEAL buddy, Detective Spinner Krespinak. Set in the Colorado underbelly of a sordid sable and faux glitz ski mecca, Detective Spinner Krespinak suspects drugs have made their way to the snowy playground that is Aspen. An Olympic ski hopeful is brutally murdered, Spinner vanishes, and Craige Ingram is shot as events spin out of control with a Catch-22 no one anticipates.
The drive up the narrow mountain rutted road was a risky, hands-on-the-wheel icy slid-and-skid. With a grim set to his jaws, Spinner didn’t say a word the whole way. They parked among the jumble of squad cars. Craige avoided the taped-off areas while Spinner huddled with Loopy. Silently they paced-off and studied the layout of each room of the mansion…each room except the one where death waited to greet Spinner. No one except Craige and Loopy knew how Spinner wasn't as detached as he appeared. Spinner traced and retraced his steps. Seeing beyond Spinner’s detached veneer of the professional, Craige could read the surly stir of emotions Spinner was struggling to control.
Finally…there was nothing left except to face the grizzly business of felony homicide and the dead. Spinner went back to where Loopy was busy. As though wanting to avoid seeing what waited in that room, he said, “Any ideas about the time of death?”
Loopy said, “Only a rough approximation at this point. I'd approximate somewhere between eight in the morning and two or three in the afternoon. We haven’t moved the bodies yet, but from what indications of livor mortis I could see, I’m leaning toward it being earlier. Central heat was off…fireplace ashes are still warm. Once we determine algor mortis changes in the body temps, I’ll be able to narrow that some. We've already picked up thirty to forty different sets of prints. Could easily be twice that before we finish. Most so smudged they're no good. The rancher who lives at the valley turnoff said cars were going back and forth all night. How it wasn't the first time they had all-night mountaintop blowouts up there. We bagged used condoms from all over this place—bedrooms, baths, all over the house. We’ll compare DNA with that of the victims. See if we get any matches that narrow down any persons of interest. Looks to be marijuana and freebase by the fireplace and in the breakfast room. And what is likely Mexican black heroin on the carpet in the den. Lord only knows what else we'll turn up. I’ll be surprised if we don’t find Silk or S-K. There's at least a case of empty aerosol cans, probably for heavy-duty huffing. We'll see what the lab tells us…hopefully that’ll fill in more details.”
Spinner said, “Before Frannie left for Denver last night, Ski came by and borrowed my wheels to get here. Brought them back about noon. Christy and the two men had to be alive at the time Ski left. Depending on road conditions, it takes about an hour to get from here back into town. The low last night was below zero, but there was no heavy weather—no wind.” His eyes flashed hurt and anger, a silent reckoning stirring somewhere deep and hidden. “Ski would party 'till the last minute.” Spinner hesitated. “Least, I’d like to think it was that. I wouldn’t like thinking he'd use me as an alibi.” The thought of the possibility was a heart-pain that sliced deep into his soul. “Give me a few minutes before you zip them up.”
Loopy nodded. “No hurry. Take what time you need.”
A very still Spinner turned a masque-face back to the bed…emotions churning his features. A lump knotted his throat. Looking down at Christy’s lifeless body, the bullet hole a vulgar insult to a death mask of frozen beauty…it seemed somehow otherworldly. “…never could trust your flighty-canary way of life.” The niche occupied by carefree fun-loving Christy seemed stark and empty.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
With postgraduate degrees and faculty appointments in several medical universities, Hawk MacKinney has taught graduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem. In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk has authored several works of fiction.
Hawk began writing mysteries for his school newspaper. His works of fiction, historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers are not genre-centered, but plot-character driven, and reflect his southwest upbringing in Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his serial protagonist in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series… murder and mayhem with a touch of romance. Vault of Secrets, the first book in the Ingram series, was followed by Nymrod Resurrection, Blood and Gold, and The Lady of Corpsewood Manor. All have received national attention. Hawk’s latest release in the Ingram series is due out this fall with another mystery-thriller work out in 2014. The Bleikovat Event, the first volume in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series, was released in 2012.
"Without question, Hawk is one of the most gifted and imaginative writers I have had the pleasure to represent. His reading fans have something special to look forward to in the Craige Ingram Mystery Series. Intrigue, murder, deception and conspiracy--these are the things that take Hawk's main character, Navy ex-SEAL/part-time private investigator Craige Ingram, from his South Carolina ancestral home of Moccasin Hollow to the dirty backrooms of the nation's capital and across Europe and the Middle East."
Barbara Casey, President
Barbara Casey Literary Agency
Sunday, December 8, 2013
a Rafflecopter giveaway
by C M Michaels
For Emily Waters, a nature-loving, small-town girl with an overprotective father, heading off to Boston University to study conservation biology is a dream come true—until a chance encounter catapults her into a mythical world she’d do anything to escape.
The latest victim in a rash of abductions near campus, Emily is brutally attacked before being rescued by a powerful new friend. She survives the ordeal, only to find herself held captive and presented with an impossible choice. While preparing for the unimaginable life she must now embrace clues soon emerge that Emily may not be entirely human, and her physical transformation awakens goddess-like powers that her new family cannot begin to explain. Dealing with her human first love, the not-so-platonic relationship with her coven “sister,” and her new vampire sort-of-boyfriend further complicates matters, not to mention being secretly hunted by the psychopaths who attacked her. And as the only known offspring of a once all-powerful race, the climactic battle is only the beginning of her journey.
Fight or flight excerpt
“Would you stop already?” Teresa grumbled, glaring at her ever-pacing brother. “No one’s following us. Relax.”
Travis finished scanning Beacon Street and ducked back into the alleyway. “God damn it! Do you ever listen? I told you we had to cool it for a while. What the hell were you thinking?”
“The bitch spilled her drink on me.”
He sighed and tiredly rubbed his eyes. Arguing with her was like trying to reason with a bratty three-year-old grabbing candy in a grocery checkout line. “So we’re homeless because someone accidentally got diet coke on your shirt?”
“Quit being such a queen,” Teresa said with a huff. “You know Stefan thinks of us as his kids, which is totally weird by the way. All he’ll do is make us listen to his rules again. If you wouldn’t have talked me into running, we’d probably be watching TV by now.”
“If Stefan and Alexander just wanted to talk, they would’ve waited until we got back, not raided our feeding room like a two-man S.W.A.T. team. This is serious, Terr. If they find us, they’re going to kill us.”
For the first time in as long as he could remember, his snarky, narcissistic sister looked vulnerable. She crossed her arms to conceal her jittery hands and looked into his eyes. “So what do we do? I’m not living on the street again, or in the skuzzy-ass hotels we used to stay in.”
Travis placed a comforting hand on his baby sister’s shoulder. “Things aren’t like they used to be, sis. Even you have to admit that Stefan taught us a hell of a lot. Once we get out of town, we can trance a bank manager and get all the money we need. I thought we’d head south—you always wanted to see Orlando.”
Acting as if he hadn’t even spoken, Teresa shrugged off his hand and headed further down the dimly lit alley, veering around overflowing dumpsters and piles of loose garbage before slumping back against the brick wall behind her. “And what about the skank who started all this? We just leave her to her fairy-tale life, sipping wine in her mansion?”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
C.M Michaels grew up in a small town in northern Michigan as the youngest child of a close-knit family of seven. He met his wife, Teresa, while attending Saginaw Valley State University. Together they’ve provided a loving home for several four-legged “kids”, including Sophie, their eternally young at heart, hopelessly spoiled Spaniel.
He has always enjoyed writing, and still has fond memories of reading his first book, a children’s novella, to local grade schools when he was 14. Dangerous Waters, the first book in the Sisters in Blood series, is being published by Freya’s Bower on September 5th, 2013. C.M. is currently working on the second book in the Sisters in Blood series along with a Fantasy romance.
When he’s not writing, C.M. can be found curled up with a good book, watching movies or hitting the hiking trails with his wife. An avid reader since discovering Jim Kjelgaard novels in early childhood, his favorite authors include Kelley Armstrong, Peter V. Brett, Richelle Mead, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Claire, J.R. Ward, Laini Taylor and Tessa Dawn.
C.M. currently resides in Louisville, Kentucky.
Social Media links:
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/UFAuthorCMMichaels
Twitter - https://twitter.com/UFAuthor
Blog - http://cmmichaels.blogspot.com/
Website - http://cmmichaels.com/
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/authorcmmichaels
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7Q7m0MrwlQ
Freya’s Bower (Paperback): http://www.freyasbower.com/books-c-3/dangerous-waters-p-290.html
Freya’s Bower (eBook): http://www.freyasbower.com/urban-fantasy-c-46/dangerous-waters-p-289.html
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Waters-C-M-Michaels/dp/1617981044/ref=sr_1_27_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378349287&sr=1-27&keywords=dangerous+waters
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Waters-Sisters-Blood-ebook/dp/B00EZY2046/ref=sr_1_28_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378511032&sr=1-28&keywords=dangerous+waters
Barnes & Noble (Paperback): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dangerous-waters-c-m-michaels/1116827370?ean=9781617981043
Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dangerous-waters-c-m-michaels/1116827370?ean=2940148669821
All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-dangerouswaters-1280168-349.html
Friday, December 6, 2013
The Girl from Long Guyland
by Lara Reznik
|One Lucky Comment Will Win $50 Amazon GC!|
THE GIRL FROM LONG GUYLAND IS ON SALE AT AMAZON FOR 99 CENTS ON DECEMBER 7.
Laila Levin enjoys a successful marriage and a thriving career as an I.T. executive in Austin, Texas, but she can't quite shake her lifelong sense of not truly belonging anywhere.
When her company announces a major layoff, Laila finds herself caught between an unscrupulous CEO and her promiscuous boss. Then news of her college roommate's suicide stirs up a dark secret involving three devious friends from her past. One has betrayed a vow, another wants to rekindle their romance, and the third is out for revenge.
Suddenly for Laila, it's 1969 again. She's only seventeen, and she's left her sheltered home in Long Island for college in Connecticut. Amid protests of the Vietnam War, she's tempted by the sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll that rule her generation. Laila gets swept up in a deceptive love triangle with two older locals and initiated into their unethical hippie family. Too late she realizes her search to belong has led to tragedy.
Laila must now juggle the demands of her perplexed husband and her baby boomer past forcing her to make choices that endanger her survival and challenge her conscience.
She learns that the lines between right and wrong are often blurred, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.
Lost in Texas
Austin, Texas, 2012
A couple dozen stars and the eye of a yellow moon pierce light through a sky filled with smoke. I look out the broken window to the ground below. Crumpled in the weeds is a lifeless body with red-flecked eyes, a bushy mustache, and sweet smile.
Vapor seeps into the room. I can barely breathe. Ben wraps his arms around me as I weep. Denise lies in a catatonic state perched on the bed. Why is she only wearing her bra and panties?
Chris stumbles inside the room. His eyes glow like diamonds. He cranes his head out the window. “We gotta do something, man.”
“I’ll call for an ambulance,” I say.
Ben gulps, “That’s not a good idea.”
“We have to,” I insist. “For Godsakes.”
He’s dead, Laila,” Chris says.
Tears sting my eyes.
WITH A JOLT, I awake whimpering. The nightmare has infested my dreams for years. It may be time to see a shrink.
The anxiety subsides when my husband Eduardo arrives with a cappuccino and the morning paper. “Are you okay? It sounded like you were crying.”
I clear my throat. “No, no, I’m fine. Just a dream, I guess.” I’ve never discussed these recurring nightmares with him. Eduardo’s got his own problems. He was recently laid off in a corporate downsize and refuses to talk about it. There’s lots of tension in our home right now. Maybe we should both see a shrink.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lara Reznik grew up on Long Island but escaped to New Mexico in 1970 in a Karmann Ghia that she and her boyfriend jump-started cross-country. As an English major at the University of New Mexico, Lara studied under esteemed authors Rudolfo Anaya and the late Tony Hillerman. She also attended a summer program at the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop.
Ambidextrous from birth, Lara preferred her right-brained creative side, but discovered she could make a better living with her left-brain skills, so entered the I.T. field in 1985.
Lara published her first novel, The Girl From Long Guyland in November 2012. The novel ranked #1 during its recent Amazon Kindle promotion and has over 115,000 Kindle downloads. In addition to her novels, Lara has written and optioned three screenplays that have garnered semifinalist and finalist wins in the Austin Heart of Film, Southwest Writers, TV Writer, Chesterfield and Writer's Digest contests. Currently, Lara is working on a new novel based on her screenplay, The M&M Boys.