Monthly Archives: March 2014

Happy Anniversary!

Ok, I’m a day late, but I still have to write about it.

Eighteen years ago, on March 25, I went on a first date with the love of my life, Quint.

We were set up on “blind date” on March 19, by a mutual friend and her husband. We met for the first time at their house for their son’s confirmation open house. I was nervous, and excited. I decided a couple of weeks prior to “ask” God, the Universe, whatever for a man, a good man, who would be a positive influence on my son and be there for me and spend the rest of my life with me. I got the idea from Dr. Gray, who wrote the “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” books and he had made an appearance on a talk show called “Mike & Maty”. What he said really stuck with me. He said if you want something different in your life in terms of relationships and you seem to keep attracting the same type over and over again, you need to make a list of what you want out of a partner and settle for nothing less than around 80 percent of what is on that list. Hmmm.

So, I made a list. I wrote it all down, folded it up and put it away. One night after working at the plastics factory (I worked from 4pm to midnight), I got home and sat out on the deck with my dog, Eesha, and while she did her nightly patrol, I looked up at the full moon, listening to the ducks and the geese out in the pond behind my parents yard. I was living with my son at my parent’s house because I couldn’t afford a place of my own yet, and I was hoping to someday go to college, get a degree and move out.

Looking up at the moon, the song, “Find Me Somebody To Love” by Queen came into my head and I prayed, asked, begged for the man on my list to arrive and soon or I was going to become a “nun”. I asked for the strength to raise my son as a single mother to the best of my ability if the Man On The List didn’t exist. I was tired of being alone. I was willing to give it up, if it was not meant to be, and just find a way to deal with being alone.

Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. About a week later, my friend came up to me and said, “There’s someone I think you should meet.”

“Right.” I said. But I felt something tingling in my arms and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

“No, really. He’s a really nice guy. He’s single and I think you two would really hit it off. Come over to my son’s open house for his confirmation to meet him. What can it hurt?” she said.

I thought about for a couple of minutes and said, “Ok. I’ll be there.”

The day of the open house, I walked from the entryway to the kitchen and he was standing there in a dark blue t’shirt and shorts. It said, “Bayfront Bluesfest” on the shirt and he was talking with my friend’s husband. He was tall, but not too tall, had short brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard. He was a big guy, barrel chested and he had really strong looking legs. He looked at me and smiled. I smiled back, then grabbed my friends arm and pulled her into the bedroom.

“Are you crazy?! He’s gorgeous! He’s not going to have anything to do with me!” I was wishing right then I was a size zero!

“You will be fine! Just go talk to him!” she said and pushed me out to the kitchen.

We were introduced and I shook his hand and felt something like electricity go right up my arm to my heart. A little voice in my heart said, “Hello. I’ve been looking for you.”

We talked and shared information and when everyone else had left, we were the only two guests left. I went to the door, he walked with me and as we put our shoes on, we talked about meeting again for a date. I left and got in my car and drove home. Then it hit me.

Shit! I never gave him my number! I started crying. Stupid, stupid, stupid!

I walked into the door at home and my Mom saw it was me.

“Why are you crying? Was he ugly?” she said.

“No! I’m an idiot! I just met the love of my life and I didn’t even give him my phone number!” I said.

“So, call your friend and get his number and call him!” she said.

“Who are you and what have you done with my mother?” I said.

I called my friend and she said she would get his number and bring it to me the next day at work.

She did. It was written on a slip of notebook paper in brown crayon. (I still have it).

I called him on my break and we started talking. We talked every day that week and decided to go on our first date that Saturday (the 25th).

Our first date started with lunch at a local restaurant. I found out he liked seasoned fries with ketchup. We talked about kids, movies, television shows, work, our families. Then he asked if I had seen “The Lion King” on VHS and I said, “Yes, but I could watch it again.”

He then invited me to meet his parents (he was living with them at the time, too), and we went to his parents house. I met them both and his Mom had been sick and watching him hug her and dote on her in their kitchen was so endearing. My mother said you can always tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mother. This spoke volumes about the kind of man he is, then and now.

We went downstairs and watched the movie and talked and then went to dinner at the steakhouse in Princeton. He was kind, funny, we had a lot of things in common. We came back and listened to music (he had a huge album collection) and I read his palm. (Thank you again, “Mike & Maty”). Then he kissed me.

That was it.

I was ruined for any other man.

I might as well have just reached in, pulled out my heart and put it in his hands right then. It’s been in his safe keeping ever since.

We found out later there was a ten year age difference (he’s ten years older than me), but to tell you the truth, he and I are perfect for each other. Age is just a number anyway.

We’ve been through a lot over the years, good, bad, ugly, sad, but we’ve come through it together. I’m grateful for each and every day I get to spend with him and I feel he deserves sainthood for putting up with me this long! He’s been a great lover, friend, father to my son and to his three boys, and influence on me, supporting me in my writing career and other career changes that have happened since we met.

He’s a wonderful grandfather, too. 🙂

I’m forever grateful to Kathy, my friend and her husband, Bob. Bob passed away a few years ago, sadly, but Kathy is still close by.

I tell people who are afraid to go on blind dates to have an open mind. I tell them my story, our story, and say, “You just never know.”

 

 

Interview with Author Eric Roberts (Eric Thornton)

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Today I have author Eric Roberts (he publishes under the name Eric Thornton) for an interview. We met through the group “Wild With Wilder” on Facebook and I asked him if he would like to answer a few questions for me. He was kind enough to answer, so without further ado, here is my interview with Eric.

1. How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing a little over 2 years now. But in a way, I’ve always been writing. I write gay, lesbian, and straight fiction (mostly romance).

2. What do you read and does this help you in the writing process?

I read a little bit of everything.

Mostly I read a lot of Jessica Sorensen, Jaci Burton, Sylvia Day, and David Baldacci.

I am a huge Stephen King and Dean Koontz fan so when they have a new one out I’m all over it.

It does help with my writing process. Through reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz, I learn what kind of detail people enjoy and how much detail is enough to keep the story going.

With Jaci Burton, and Sylvia Day, I learn how to write romance in the fun enjoyable way with a good dose of sexuality.

Jessica Sorensen and Jaci Burton also teach me about pacing with my writing. If it has a good pace to it and doesn’t leave out anything the reader wants to know, then I know I’ve done my job right.

3. Do you outline or do you just write and see where the story takes you?

I most definitely write and see where the story takes me. Honestly, I think I know where the story is taking me but just when I think I have it all figure out the story gives a left turn that surprises me. So honestly, my stories are very much character driven.

4. Who inspires you as a writer?

Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sylvia Day, Jessica Sorensen, Jaci Burton, TM Smith, Pelaam, and so many more. Every time an author I like brings out a new one, they inspire me to push forward and then some. I’m friend with Pelaam and TM Smith so I always get a good dose of encouragement from them. Also I have fans that encourage me on a daily basis to keep going. They help me out and keep me up when I’m feeling quite down. It is amazing.

5. What have you published so far? Are you self-published or a traditional published author?

I have published over 70 short stories. Lately I have been turning those short stories—slowly (it is a major tough process let me tell you)—into longer stories. I recently published “1 Warning” (a gay thriller), “Odds Are” (contemporary gay romance) and a few other short stories.

All my books are under the name Eric Thornton.

As for the publication, I am a self-published author because I don’t like the constraints and limitations on mainstream publication. It would be too much of a hassle and a major stress overload for me.

I self-publish so I can have some fun and write under no deadline—though I do set deadlines for myself sometimes.

6. If you could have lunch with one of your heroes, who would that be and what would you eat?

I would have lunch with my hero Jaci Burton. As for what we would eat…I think we would have grilled chicken sandwiches and pasta salad for a side. She is such an amazing author and though she lives relatively close to me I have never met her but I do want to.

What is next for you? Do you have any book signings coming up?

At this point, I have over 12 books (good stories) that I am working on at any point.

Right now, I am closing in on the ending for 2 books: “Now and Then” (a gay contemporary romance) and “Changing Faces” (a gay thriller). Both of them are solos, but they hold dear to my heart and soul, and I think the readers will enjoy them just as I have been when I write them.

And as for book signings? I have never done a book signing but I would love to if I ever had the chance. I think it would be a great experience.

I am working on writing a few more straight romances. It helps to always do a variety.

Thank you so much Eric and best of luck in your writing and publishing career!

You can find out more about Eric Roberts (Eric Thornton) and his books on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter, and on his website.

 

Inspiration: Why I Support Indie Authors

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Last week was a hard week for me, full of ups and downs, but on Friday, something cool happened. Jasinda Wilder, in case you don’t know, released a new book entitled “Falling Under.”

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This was the one year anniversary she and her husband, Jack Wilder, pushed the button and hit the bestseller lists with a book called “Falling Into You.” The next book, “Falling Into Us” did very well, but this book, “Falling Under” was written as a gift of gratitude to their fans, the readers. They did this with no press, other than word of mouth on social media and through the blogosphere.

Brave? Yes!

I call it Ballsy as Hell, but what struck me most, is in her group, Wild With Wilder, the atmosphere was so celebratory and everyone was in a feeding frenzy to get their hands on the book and read it! It got a little nuts on Friday morning when it slowly, ever so slowly, made its way to be accessible to the masses.

I did something I have never in my life done. I got into a meme battle on Thursday with one of the members of the group to promote the book. After all, there was not a single bit of press out there to announce this book was coming. No title, no plot blurbs, not a peep anywhere. I had to help my girl, Jasinda Wilder, out. After all, I would hope when I am part of the indie published family, they would help me out. (Soon, everyone, very soon! I will be announcing it to the universe very soon!) That golden rule thing, you know. 🙂

Now, let me explain. We posted some cool pics with some witty sayings to promote the book coming on Friday, and I had the most fun! But in the end, I came out making a friend, and we’ve been posting things back and forth all weekend. Very cool. I can say, I have met some very awesome people on the social media, including Facebook. (Sandy Lender, Gale Sparks, Hugh Howey, Liliana Hart, Beth Ann Erickson, Billie A. Williams, just to name a few, and yes, most of them are writers).

And who knows? We might get to meet in real life at a book signing or something, either Jasinda Wilder’s or mine!

It was nice to just play, to go back and forth. To make people laugh and help out a wonderful lady and her husband, who a year ago, held their breath, took a gamble, and said a few prayers as they pushed the button to a bigger, brighter future. It could have gone the other way, but it didn’t. It payed off. When I first saw their story on the CBS News, I was cheering for them and got onto Facebook to find them that very night. If you haven’t seen it, here it is:

I told my honey, it is the coolest thing to chat and email with a New York Times Best Selling Author, a USA Today Bestselling Author and a Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author (all rolled into one) and her husband, Jack, who is also a writer, and have them answer a question or respond back to you and be so damn nice and just grateful!

I want that.

I want to inspire people like that.

I want raving fans like that.

I want to give and receive like that!

And my honey wants that for me, too. God Bless him. He’s put up with me for what will be eighteen (18) years with my writing obsession, my self-doubts, my fears and my ups and downs.

He’s been so supportive of me being a writer, because at this point, I can’t give it up anymore than I can stop breathing. So, why not give it a shot? Why not push that button and see what happens?

If they can do it, so can I.

I may not be as successful. Or, what really gets my heart racing, what if I am? What then?

First, if I do hit it big, my honey will get his hot rod! A 1969 Chevelle SS.

chevelle

More than anything, I would do my best to follow in the footsteps of Team Wilder and be as kind and generous to my fans as they are to theirs.

The thing I took away from this weekend is they probably don’t need to ever publish another thing as long as they live.

They may have everything they may ever need for themselves or their family, so it isn’t about the money.

That’s not why they published “Falling Under”, (or I’m assuming it had nothing to do with the money they would make), but the reason they did it, or I BELIEVE they did it was to say “Thank you” to all of us who read their work, love it for what it is, and review it and share it with the world.

Thank you, Jasinda Wilder and Jack Wilder for giving me something to aspire to.

Because of you, both of you, I didn’t give up.

I visited with my Mom today, which had not happened in a while. It’s not that she lives so far away, in fact I drive by her place on the way home from work every day. The weather has been too cold, the roads too icy, I was too tired, etc. I had my usual list of excuses going to not stop by Mom & Dad’s but today Mom needed help with sending an email, so I stopped over after work this morning and helped her out while she gave me coffee to warm up and we got caught up on all the usual things and the latest news.

Welcome to the world, Annabel Christina!

Welcome to the world, Annabel Christina!

The most recent news was my brother Andrew and his wife, Lisa, welcomed their daughter, Annabel Christina Ruiz-Crawford into the world on Saturday, March 8, 2014. It was a roller coaster weekend, emotionally, and I think it was fitting Annabel arrived with the changing of the clocks just in time for us to “Spring Forward.”

The best part was she arrived with all of her fingers and toes, and decent head of hair, and when I heard her cry over the phone, my heart broke open. My brother called me later that night and informed me that she has him wrapped around her little finger and the moment that happened was when she grabbed his finger and squeezed really hard. His heart exploded and he realized, like I did the first moments I held my son for the first time, that I would walk through hell and back to protect this beautiful little being heaven sent down.

I remember those first days as new parent quite well. I can say, I sometimes hope I did the right things. I mean, Alex turned out ok, but you are never sure. You feel such overwhelming love and at the same time, you are scared shitless, worried you will mess this child up for life and pray you can find them a good therapist if the time comes. He asked me if I had any advice for him. I gave my brother the same advice I received from my Aunt Treva when my son was born.

You are going to get a hundred different opinions from everyone on how to raise your child, but in the end, the only thing that matters is you know your child better than anyone. If you don’t feel right doing something, don’t do it. If it feels right, try it out. If it doesn’t work out, try something else. Remember, in the end, it’s your child and you are the one raising it, nobody else.”

When I got home later today, I was on Facebook, and the first post I saw was from my cousin Casey. Her Dad passed away last night. I knew he wasn’t well for a very long time. Since my Aunt Colleen passed away a few years ago, he seemed to be on a decline, health wise. I then realized, with one life given another was sent back to Heaven.

The circle of life.

Art Alexander was a wonderful man. He loved his children and his grandchildren and I was so happy he was able to hold his most recent granddaughter, born just a few months ago. I know he and Keener (my aunt’s nickname) are together again and watching down on their children and grandchildren.

Art Alexander holding Jocelyn Colleen.

Art Alexander holding Jocelyn Colleen.

And while I am a busy person, I need to spend more quality time with my family. Life happens while you make other plans, as John Lennon sang, and we never really know how much time we have.

Hug your family. Tell them you love them. Even if they make faces at you.

 

 

Interview with Author Jamieson Wolf

I am so happy to share with you an interview with my good friend and fellow author, Jamieson Wolf. He took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for me. His latest work is a book of poetry entitled “Talking to the Sky” and you can find it on his website www.jamiesonwolf.com. Thank you so much Jamieson!

1.      How long have you been writing?

 

Well, I asked my mother and she says all my life. I wrote a short story for Remembrance Day when I was  seven years old and it placed third and then second place in two competitions. I got to go to two award ceremonies and everything. My life, thankfully, has never been the same since.

 

2.      I see you read voraciously, sometimes re-reading books more than once, does this help you in the writing process?

 

I re-read books because it’s like visiting with characters I love again. Some books I re-read because I just love them so much or they speak to me in some way. I think anything you read helps with the writing process. Stephen King said in On Writing: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” I couldn’t agree more.

 

3.      Do you outline or do you just write and see where the story takes you?

 

I’ve tried to do outlines lots of times but I tend to be more of an automatic writer. I just sit down at the computer and write what comes to me. That’s the only way I know how to do it. I get bogged down by plots constricting the characters. They usually know what they want to do anyways!

 

4.      Your latest is a book of poetry entitled “Talking to the Sky”. Have you always written poems?

 

I’ve always dabbled in poetry  but never like this. I wanted the poems to have more than just my voice so I started turning conversations I’d had into poems. The poems ended up being a journey through out a year when I was getting better and becoming myself again.

 

5.      Who inspires you as a writer?

 

That’s a hard one. Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, J. K. Rowling. However if I had to pick just one person it would be Carol Shields. When I was in high school, my mother took me to see Carol Shields speak about the power of narrative. People had the opportunity to ask questions at the end but I was too shy. This was a talk given to Masters and PHD students and their questions went over my head.

 

After her talk, I went up to speak to her. I asked Ms. Shields if it was easier to write a narrative for poetry or short stories. She told me that both had their advantages with regard to narrative. I told her that I wanted to be a writer. She told me that I already was; I had asked a more intelligent question than all the others and to let my stories out.

 

I haven’t stopped following her advice since.

 

 

6.      What else have you published?

 

Oh gosh, where do I begin? I’ve written over 65 different books in various genres and I’m always writing something. You can check out all of my work at www.jamiesonwolf.com

 

7.      If you could have lunch with one of your heroes, who would that be and what would you eat?

 

Well, my main hero is my mum because she’s taught me a lot about being a better person and always striving for what I want and never giving up. We have dinner all the time! However, one of my other hero’s that I admire greatly is Stephen King as he never gave up and always kept writing, despite the hardships he faced. What would we eat? Honestly anything he wanted!

 

8.      What is next for you?

 

I’m teaching a workshop on how to publish your own book in April, so I am working on finishing that. I’m also working on another novel titled Boy/Friends which is going really well. Stay tuned for details!