Tag Archives: Anniversary

Never Too Old To Fall In Love

I am going to get really personal here, and I am glad to share. This week has been lonely. The Rocket Scientist has been in Boston all week and spent the weekend in South Florida working on the boat. When you have someone you love in your life every day and that person is gone…well, things seem gloomy.

He makes me laugh every day and sings to me songs he recalls from the seventies and then some. His chronic jokes and puns make me roll my eyes but I giggle inside. He’s quite a comedian. He’s traveled the world and speaks three languages. Reads two or three books a week and works math problems I don’t even understand the symbols for. He loves art and music. A real Renaissance Man.

We have been together for eight years and celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary October 3rd.

It is sometimes difficult for me to recall a life without him. He is sensitive to my needs and the feelings of others, very gregarious, humble and warm.

We talk about everything from spirituality to current events. More than that, we both listen. He’s a great conversationalist. We’ve been from the oceans to the mountains together. I could not imagine life without his support. He encourages my writing and everything it encompasses.

I was twelve years single when we met and fiercely independent. I had made my own way, raised a family, had a professional career, and bought my own home. Marriage was the last thing on my mind. We had both signed onto a dating service, Great Expectations.

We had both had bad experiences with dating services…had ended up spending entire days and evenings with people we just didn’t click with. It broke the boredom of living alone, but got us into awkward situations with others. So we agreed to meet at a coffee shop.

We ended up talking for four hours, about everything. I loved his seafarer’s look with the graying beard and when he said he had a boat I knew we would be great friends. I grew up on the Chattahoochee River and spent the fondest days of my youth on a boat. He loved my snakeskin stilettos and complimented my pretty feet and soulful green eyes.

We fell in love that day.

Then he said, “I’ve enjoyed your company and I would like to go out again on a real date, but I need to be totally honest with you. I am over fifty, bipolar, a recovering alcoholic, and technically still married.” (Seriously? That was enough to scare anyone away, but he was straightforward and honest. I respected that.)

I told him very quickly that I did not date married men. He insisted the marriage was for paper purposes only and they had been legally separated for two years. I wasn’t dealing with it.

I had a rule. I did NOT date married men. After all…he could not possibly have closure on that relationship, nor had he had opportunity to explore others in my mind…he was not ready. (I decided.) He left me his number in case I changed my mind.

He says I broke his heart.

I was upset with the dating service and thought he had lied on his profile where it said “Never Married”, but they assured me that it was their fault, not his. They had recently updated their website. He had originally said “Separated” and someone at the dating service had keyed in “Never Married” by accident.

So I called him.

We gave each other a chance.

No regrets!

The rest is history. And it has been a wonderful history.

We still talk. We still hold hands. We still hug every day and say I love you. Forever and always!

 Happy Anniversary, Honey!

 Gregory Dymas Nicholls

I love you!

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Happy Anniversary Blog!

one year blogA little trophy popped up in my notifications yesterday telling me this is my anniversary, but it was actually a few days ago. You see, the day I started blogging, I also stopped…for awhile.

This blog is now one year old. It is time for me to tell you my story.

After I published my book, March 27, 2013, making all the mistakes possible to make, a friend suggested I blog. I was clueless. It took me days to get the courage to post. For my first post, I typed in some silly dribble.

I don’t recall how long it took, but a person finally “liked” it, and followed me. I had no idea why.

I followed him back and checked out his site. My subtitle read something about following my journey into social progress. It’s social…it’s supposed to be progress, right?

When I got to his site, I saw his subtitle and I thought it was a joke…some attempt at humor. Then I read his post.

The post on his site was about a sensitive and controversial topic.

Only three people had commented. There were no responses to the comments at that time. Since the site appeared to encourage opinions and discussion, I went to the comments and typed in my own polite opinion. Our opinions differed. I was immediately attacked. There was juvenile name calling. Flaming insults were hurled my way and I could not help but take it personally. I thought, OMG, this is sick. I don’t know if I want to be a part of this social networking world or not. The response was uncivil, indignant, and uncouth. He did everything short of telling me that I was going to burn in hell for feeling the way that I did about the matter.

Maybe he would have done that too if I had stuck around long enough. I was certain that he couldn’t be more than fifteen years old. I chose not to comment back. It was not a very warm reception. An hour or so later I went back to the site.  Apparently he was very popular. The comments were filled by a bunch of people yelling and screaming their opinions, and the blogger was in the thick of it. I thought, Shit…is this what blogging is all about? 

I un-followed him, left and never looked back. I concluded that the blogger had posted his piece, not because he wished to express his thoughts and open the topic to discussion, but because he wished to incite his audience into a fury. After that incident, I was about to give up on this blogging thing. It had no appeal to me.

I went back to my site and tried to find a way to delete a “like”.  I didn’t want anything on my blog associated with this individual. I could not find any way to delete a like with a gravatar image and link, so I deleted my post, trashed it. I thought, If this is the sort of person I am going to attract with my silly dribble, maybe I should post something more serious. I thought I should start over. So I did.

I posted some serious posts, even colored a few serious posts with my own sordid humor, but I also started cruising around and looking at what other people were posting. I found a world of creative writing, gorgeous photography, fantastically imaginative blogs, and pure genius! I found clever wit, immeasurable talent, courage, and deep sensitivity. I found poetic beauty in words and images.

I started posting some of my old poetry. Then I began to comment on other people’s work, and these people were really nice.

Gradually, they began to visit me too.

Before long, we were into discussions and I was learning so very much from you. All of you!

The community I found was warm, accepting, supportive, intelligent, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

I wake up in the morning and check my mail. There you all are! My colleagues and companions. I check in with you throughout the day. You give me things to think about. You make me smile. You make me laugh. You keep me delightfully entertained with your imagination and the knowledge you share. I reflect on your words at the end of the day.

You never cease to amaze me.

Many of you have become my very best friends. I cry on your shoulders and you wipe my tears. I fall off and you put me back on. I whine, moan, groan, complain,…and yet, you tolerate me. You have given me guidance, ideas, thoughts, and suggestions. You helped me mold and shape Red Clay and Roses into a marketable product to be proud of. Some of you even GET my humor. Some of you are old friends now, and some of you are new. For all the ways that you are you, I am eternally grateful.

I have my own brand of genius, and I say that jokingly, and you have welcomed me into your worlds.

I am so glad that I did not give up after my experience with that first follower. You are the best!

I am very happy to be here.

 Thank you for making blogging a positive experience!

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Happy Birthday Red Clay and Roses!

 

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the day that Red Clay and Roses went live for the whole world to see.

I want to express my appreciation to all of the people who gave me an opportunity to share this story. Thank you most sincerely for the decision to invest in me and the time you spent reading; perhaps reviewing, my work.

Tomorrow I will put on my lab coat and go to work on an assignment that will pay me more in eight hours than I have earned in sales on this book this year. Yes, nurses often earn more than writers. Does this mean my sales are bad? No, it means my earnings in nursing are better. Most of you know I stepped out of career nursing to write. “You must be crazy!” some people have said to me.

Though I can’t refute that I am crazy, what they don’t understand is this: It is not about the money. Not for me, anyway. It’s about having the time and the peace of mind to dedicate myself to a life that I love. To do what I most enjoy. To spend my time pleasing myself and my readers.

I don’t write genre fiction. I don’t cater to trends. I don’t even write to fit into any specific category.

I write American life drama. Maybe some would call it historical fiction; maybe some would call it literary fiction. There is even a little romance in there. It wasn’t written about the last ten years, so it doesn’t qualify as contemporary fiction, but there are issues explored in it that are contemporary issues. I cannot even claim to know what it is by Amazon or Goodreads definitions.

I cannot claim to to know anything except that I am a perpetual student.

I have learned so very much this year and there is so much for me yet to learn.

Red Clay and Roses was written between April and July of 2012. I spent four months doing nothing but writing. It was not written as a novel to be published. It was a creative writing project that I devoted myself to out of a passion to record a story.

After I wrote it, I placed it on a shelf for about a year. I took it down, read it, and made a few changes. After sharing it with others, which took immeasurable courage, we (my support group and I) decided to publish. It was published March 27, 2013.

I did not know what the hell I was doing. (Not sure if I know now.)

I liked to read. I liked to read stories about life in America. I liked to write stories about life in America.

I liked history. I liked reading about history. I liked writing about history.

I made all of the mistakes it is possible to make. I published Red Clay and Roses in its rawest form. I was clueless. I didn’t know a damned thing. I did not know about blogs, platforms, branding, writing rules, beta readers, editing, blurbs, book cover images, marketing, sales. I didn’t know shit. I won’t claim to be an expert now either. I am learning every day and I am writing and reading every day.  I will say this: I have mentors, trusted confidants, other authors, a reader audience, friends, colleagues, valuable associates that I did not have a year ago.

As I learned from these people, and continue to learn, I made improvements on my product, my book, my novel, Red Clay and Roses. I know now that it is not the best that it could have been, but it is what it is, features, flaws and faults included.  I know that my next product will be even better, because you are who you are. Most significantly, I have the capacity to keep learning from YOU!

I was going to end this post right here with my eternal gratitude, but I think this is a good place to tell you the rest of the story if you will bear with me. I want to tell you how I feel about the concept of success. Success is measured many ways through different perspectives.

I have read numerous posts declaring success is measured by numbers sold, dollars earned, an ability to make a living at the craft, and I suppose that may be true for some, but it isn’t for me. Success is measured by starting a project and seeing it through.

Red Clay and Roses is a success.

After we (I say we because I had support people around me at the time.) pushed the publish button, there was a celebration. Of course, nothing much happened.

For weeks, nothing much happened. I think a few friends and family bought the book, nobody posted any reviews. On the advice of a friend, I started a blog. I didn’t know much about that either, but I learned. (Am still learning.)

Not knowing anything about how to find readers, I went to the library. Surely there would be readers there. I met a reading group, strangers, people I did not know, and they expressed interest in reading my book. So they bought it and read it. This was in May of last year.

They were eight people, a nurse, a middle school teacher, a college professor, an IBM corporate executive, and so on. Ordinary people, strangers who became acquaintances. Four of the eight wrote my first reviews on Amazon. Five star reviews. I was excited, overjoyed. That was enough for me. My confidence was stoked, but they did not stop there.

These eight people, whom I barely knew, were so very impressed with my literary work that they entered me in a contest. It was a surprise to me when they shared the news. What grand support is that?

My book deals with American life during an era of conflict and political strife. It is about everyday people who made tremendous sacrifices to promote social progress, whether they knew it at the time, or not.

The Pulitzer is awarded: “For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.”

This group of eight people had pooled their resources to pay the fifty dollars necessary to submit Red Clay and Roses as an entry for the Pulitzer. Eight people thought my literary work was distinguished.

Now, I chuckle, and you may be laughing out loud as you read this. But I thought it was an amazing honor that they bothered to do this.

I have no unrealistic expectations to win a Pulitzer, or to even become a nominated finalist.

They discourage anyone from claiming nomination simply because an entry has been submitted, so there are no grandiose expectations here. I did not know how simple it was to be entered. It takes fifty dollars and four copies of your book in physical form. That’s all!

I am not trying to belittle the Pulitzer award, I am just saying that I did not know.

Anyone can enter. An author or publisher can submit their own work. Self-published works are accepted, but not in eversion. It is easy to do online. Then you mail in your proofs or your books. I have only sold one paperback copy, but four of them were mailed off by this group of readers, and passed through the hands of Pulitzer judges. Whether or not they felt the book had any merit I may never know, but it has been an exciting adventure in writing.

The Pulitzer winner and nominated finalists are to be announced on April 14, 2014.

They receive approximately 2400 entries, and there are 21 awards. In 2012 there were three nominated finalists in fiction, but no one was awarded. How they determine finalists and award winners is a mystery. The judges have the final say.

I have read many Pulitzer Prize winners, some I thought had merit and some I did not like. So, at least in my mind, it is all relative to personal opinion…a subjective analysis like it is for any reader. I am not holding my breath or anything like that, but I am honored by these readers who thought my work worthy.

I only mention it to say this; DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!

Whether they are Pulitzer judges, a library group, hundreds of strangers found through a marketing campaign, or a few blogger friends, all of your readers are what makes doing this worthwhile. They are the measure of your success.

It is not a finished project until it is read, so keep writing! I love you all!

I am not doing any special promotions or running any sales or ads for this birthday, but if you would like to pick up a copy of Red Clay and Roses you can find it here on Amazon, where you can also find the paperback. You can also find it on Kobo, Apple, Barnes and Noble and smashwords.

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