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I know on more than one occasion, I've sat or stood with a smile on my face and my gaze locked onto the person talking to me, and my mind was far away from whatever the person was saying. It was my "I'm interested in you and what you're saying" mask and yet I could only nod and agree when I came back from my mental trip and the person had finished speaking.
My "I'm having fun" mask is the other I use quite often. Because inside I'm screaming to get out of there and be alone, but on the outside, I have a smile, an intelligent quip, and eye contact. I'm an introvert who enjoys being alone and not so much being the center of attention.
Or the ever popular; talking, while looking around the room seeing nothing but a blur because I'm standing in front of a group giving a presentation. I'll never forget the first time I stood up in front of a large group. It was at a 4-H recognition night. I took the job of 4-H program assistant and told the people hiring me I was not getting up in front of people and talking. Then I found myself in front of 4-H volunteers, 4-H members, and their families. I was presenting Teen Staff pins and my own gifts to them. I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest, my hands were sweaty and half way through I couldn't remember any of the kids names! But I muddled through. And the next thing I knew I was teaching the New Leader workshops.
That experience taught me I could put on a mask and pretend to know enough to talk in front of people. After that I started teaching workshops at writer conferences. Now I can read from my books at signings and events. All the time smiling, staring at the blur in front of my eyes, and not stumbling too badly over words.
We all have masks that we put on for reasons, sometimes, only we know.
I have a book, Improper Pinkerton, where the heroine in the book uses disguises to discover the information she needs as a Pinkerton Agent and to keep herself safe.
An impetuous Pinkerton agent is out to prove to a righteous US Marshal that she's the best "man" to complete the assignment and the only "woman" who can capture his heart.
Mae Simon is on her first assignment as a Pinkerton operative and determined nothing will stand in her way of accomplishing her task. When the simple assignment turns into a murder and kidnapping, she has to stop hiding behind her disguises and trust a man she’s betrayed.
U. S. Marshal Beck Harlan can’t afford to befriend anyone. Not with a vengeance seeking outlaw killing off his intimate acquaintances. Yet, he falls hard for the French prostitute he talks into being an informant, not realizing she is a Pinkerton operative after the same man.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has garnered a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.