COVER REVEAL: Falling for Hope

Without delay, ladies and gentleman, I give you Falling for Hope!

EBook Cover FFH

 

Alexander Bronwyn loves his family-his mother, father, two sisters, and especially his son, Elliott. But only one of them shares his blood-his son. Elliott has leukemia and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. In order to rid him of this life-depriving disease, adopted Alexander must first find those who share the same DNA.

Elaine Hannel, mother to Oliver, Edward, and Rhys Hannel thought she lost her first-born forty years prior, during childbirth. That is until he showed up at her final son’s wedding, uncovering a decades’ old mystery she didn’t know existed. Shocked, Elaine is forced to relive the past she’d put behind her so long ago, with a former lover and the death of her child she only met for a blink of a moment.

While the rest of the Hannels are confused, and feel deceived, Lucy Brooks, twin sister to Layla Hannel, is the only person accepting and sympathetic of Alexander and his plight. A single parent herself, what she sees in Alex is a man who will do anything for his son, no matter the pain and conflict it causes. What she doesn’t see is the immediate soul connection to a man so overburdened with life, all he has left is to let go and let her take some of that away for him.

This book idea came to me in pieces. As many of you know, my husband was adopted as a toddler. He’s never met or even knows who his biological family are. And one day, very early into my pregnancy with my son my doctor was asking me all these family history questions, like has anyone in my family had heart disease or cancer, and in turn she asked my husband as well. I had this extensive list in my head for my side, but all Jon said was, “I don’t know.”

It took about three questions for the doctor to ask, are you adopted? and Jon answered, “Yes.”

From that moment, I’ve often thought, what would we do if something went wrong with him or our son since they have no other biological blood except each other?

Years later, as I was watching my favorite show, Once Upon a Time, the audience was introduced to a new character in an episode entitled Swan Song – Brennan Jones aka Papa Hook, Captain Hook’s father.

PapaHook and Hook

L to R Adam Croasdell, Colin O’Donoghue – Once Upon a Time

Brennan is played by the very talented actor Adam Croasdell. I don’t know what it was, but I was drawn to how he acted with the child who played young Captain Hook. He was dear to the child, and just had this sweet face to go along with it. Now unfortunately for young Hook, Papa didn’t turn out to be a good guy, but Adam was. The actor was and is a big Twitter person and I have had the privilege to chat with him a many times.
Jokingly one day, I tweeted that I was going to write a story about a single father having adventures on the high seas to Adam and he said he’d be honored. Well, I couldn’t disappoint and started wondering how I could fit a story like I’d described into my Falling for Heroes world. And just like many a story comes out a writer started with one story and ends up with another.
If the Hannels were going to gain another brother, how would that happen, was my first thought. Soon the idea of adoption came to mind, and then came the question I’d asked myself so long ago….what would happen if my son had an illness and needed blood from my husband and his didn’t work? They would need a miracle or someone else biological. The story grew from there and Falling for Hope was born.

One cool thing did come from it’s origin, Mr. Croasdell and I still chat. He was an awesome muse and I’m so glad to share this story with him. I also have the pleasure of sharing this story with a beautiful cancer survivor who I interviewed, Carly, as well as Be The Match bone marrow donor program. Both were extremely helpful in learning more and researching cancer and how treatments are made.

I do have a little news that I would like to share with you. Originally I’d planned on releasing Falling for Hope in April, but due to uncontrollable circumstances, like a broken computer, being unemployed, then just starting a new day job, I have to push the release date to June. Be patient with me. You will not want to miss this story!

Thank you to Dee Photos, Doreen Klussendork–oops dorf, The Berardinelli family, and Tori C. Farris for creating this beautiful cover for me. Usually, I create my own covers but these wonderful people pulled together to help me while my precious computer is dead. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

The Scroll: A Once Upon a Time Fanfiction

His little chest sat on the floor of his closet for weeks now. Weeks, meaning twelve…three months since he brought the weathered thing into Emma’s –correction his—err their house. To say Killian was still getting used to living without the sea under his feet was an understatement. And it’s not to say that he hadn’t lived on land before, he had, but not without knowing that his permanent and rightful home was the Jolly Roger. Now, it was not. She was his vessel for travel and that was all. This was his home.

A creak of the floorboard announced Emma’s arrival to the bedroom. Killian lifted his head. She came bearing coffee, handing him the steaming mug as she sat next to him at the foot of the bed.

“Are you just going to stare at that thing or finally open it?” she asked, nudging him.

Killian gave a one note chuckle. “I don’t know.”

“And I thought I was the stubborn one. What’s going on, Killian? Don’t you like it here?”

She was on his right. He took her hand in his and kissed the back of it. “Of course I like it here, love. But one thing you don’t know about this trunk is that it has never been off the Jolly Roger. I’ve never opened it other than aboard my ship. It belonged there.”

“And it doesn’t belong here?”

He lifted a shoulder. “It wants to, but along with opening it comes a sense of permanence.”

“Ahh. I know exactly what you mean. And I get it. You should’ve seen how many boxes I had before I moved here all those years ago,” Emma said, sipping her coffee, then setting it down on the nightstand.

Instead of returning to where she was sitting, she stood before Killian, gathering his hand and hook. “I had clothes, some books, tons of shoes…” she giggled. “But that was it. No photographs, no scrapbooks, no keepsakes…nothing personal. And those boxes littered my mom’s loft for a week before she made me unpack. You’ve got to do the same, Killian. I dreaded it too, but this isn’t some random house you’re living in. It’s one full of love and hope for our future. It may not have the ability to float, but it does have a cave system running underneath.”

Her green eyes twinkled as she spoke the last sentence, and Killian pulled her to him, kissing her before rising off the bed. “You’re right. Would you like to help me?”

“I thought you’d never ask.” She beamed up at him. Barefoot, she was shorter than he was more than any other time, making him feel like a giant and protective of her despite the fact she was an adult woman who could, quite honestly, take care of herself better than he ever could.

Kneeling together, Killian lifted the lid and began setting the few items inside upon the dresser, on the nightstands, or tucked into drawers if need be. Like magic, with each piece removed he felt the sense of dread leave his soul.

At the bottom, only one thing remained: a leather pouch. It was his brother’s, Liam’s…his older brother Liam’s. Killian took an extra second holding it, picturing the way Liam would carry this ratty trinket holder everywhere he went. He’d had it since he was a child. After he died, Killian had stuffed it away and never picked it up again. Placing it atop the shelf in the closet would be only the second home it had since being in Killian’s possession.

“Is that an L on the flap?” Emma asked. “Was that Liam’s?”

“Aye. Our father gave it to him when he was young. Liam carried it always.”

“What’s inside?”

Killian shook his head. “To tell the truth, I don’t know. I’ve never rummaged through.”

“Are you going to now?” she asked. Soft, serene eyes gazed at him, waiting for an answer.

“Why not.” Killian handed it to her. “Would you do the honors?”

“Me?” Emma was taken aback.

“Aye. Please.”

Taking it, she opened the flap and pulled out several things a child would own: a rock, a dried starfish, a bit of string, a toy wooden knight, and oddly enough a scrolled piece of parchment tied with a ribbon. The last she held up to examine. “There’s something written on it,” she said unrolling the centuries old paper. “Brennan sailed the seas as a cabin boy…” she read. “Brennan? That was your father’s name.”

“Aye, it was.” Confusion took over Killian, reading ahead over Emma’s shoulder.

“Killian, do you know what this is? It’s his story. No other paper or ink could survive this long and not be from the author. Do you know his story?” Emma was already on her feet, excited to uncover what was written on the page.

“No, I don’t. I never cared to. Hell, I still don’t. He doesn’t deserve to have his story told.” Nothing would ever heal the bitterness he held for his scoundrel father who’d abandoned him on the high seas to a life of servitude.

“How about your mother? Do you know about her? Reading ahead, it seems to be their love story.”

“She left us too. That’s all our father ever said.”

Emma  flipped over the page. Her jaw dropped, scanning the story further. “Killian… you need to read this.”

“Emm—” he began to protest.

Grabbing his hand, Emma hauled him down the stairs. “Nope, we’re going to read this. Come on.”

“Where are we going?”

She paused only to slip on a jacket and handed him his in the process. “We’re going to pick up lunch and read this. You can’t hold on to bitterness all your life. I won’t let you. New house, new life, new rules. We’re reading it.”

After a quick stop at Granny’s, Emma drove Killian to the Storybrooke Park and flung out a blanket from the back seat of that death trap she called a vehicle. “Sit,” she said patting the space next to her.

Killian sat looking out the tranquil reservoir, the lapping waters calmed his uneasy spirit.

“I would’ve taken you to the docks, but I thought a nice picnic on the water here would be better,” Emma said. “More private.”

He smiled. “Thank you.”

Clearing her throat Emma unrolled the scroll and nestled herself comfortably in place.  “Once upon a time…”

                Centuries ago…

               

                Brennan sailed the seas a cabin boy, performing all sorts of tasks for his father and his crew. They called themselves merchants, but Brennan knew better. They were pirates. He hated pirates; despised those rotten creatures. Always smelling of alcohol and decaying fish, Brennan stayed away from them as much as possible, preferring to read alone in his room.

As the years went on and he reached manhood, Brennan grew tired of always living amongst men. His heart grew, longing for someone to love…a woman. But he hadn’t met one in all his life. His mother died of some kind of flux during one of his earliest sails and from then on women had only been mentioned in tales or seen in port when the ship docked for supplies. Those women were not what he’d expected from the many stories he’d read. No, they were dirty, hard-worked, and too eager to please a man.

The image he had in his head of the perfect woman drifted through his mind as he sat above deck staring out at the waters below. She’d be beautiful, lovely, bright as the sun that rose in the east. Her heart would be kind and true. He filled his lungs with the warm ocean air wishing for such a maiden somewhere amongst hills of green they sailed along.

“Oy! Brennan!” his father called. “You wastin’ your days away again? Meanwhile me crew is ‘ere workin’ like scurvy dogs. Get off your arse and get to work!”

Brennan could only look to the sky and put his dreaming aside. It was time to go to work.

At night they docked. The crew and his father took to the nearest tavern for a night of drinking and debauchery. If there were ever a chance to disappear, now would be the time. And so he did. Stealing a horse, he galloped as far away from the docks as he fast as the animal could run. He urged the mare into the woods, deep in canopy cover until the smell of the ocean was taken over by moss, and leaves, and dirt. And when the old girl had had enough, he stopped and made camp. He was finally free.

Morning came and Brennan wandered the forest for hours in search of food and water. He found not but a few berries and some nuts, eating them without satisfying the empty pit in his belly. He needed more. Perhaps a shelter or a small village would pop up soon, he thought and continued to walk with the horse by his side.

As he’d wish, the forest opened to a field. A great castle stood before him. Finally, he was saved. Yet as he edged closer he saw the castle was set on a small island in the middle of a lake. Brennan could see that a drawbridge could be lowered to cross the water and gain access into the castle. He called and called for someone to drop the plank, but not one of his cries were heard. The castle couldn’t be empty, he thought, it was massive. Hundreds must live on the other side of the wall. Someone was bound to come out sooner or later.

Busying himself with giving the horse water and brushing its mane, he waited what seemed like forever for someone to come along. No one did. Not one single soul. He sank into the grass, lying his head back amongst the yellow and purple flowers, and staring at the sun crossing the sky. Before he knew it, a song drifted on the wind. Brennan sat up, seeing a beautiful woman emerge from the forest. Her hair was long and golden, flowing down her back like the cascading falls he’d seen in his travels. As she neared, she glanced at him smiling; two blue eyes twinkled in his direction. “Hello,” she said. “Are you lost?”

Brennan bowed. “I am, my fair maiden. I came from the forest via the docks two days ride from here. I have been calling for someone inside to open the gate, but no one’s heard me.”

She giggled in a girlish, spritely way he’d never heard before, reminding him of the dolphins that played along the bow of a ship. “That’s because no one lives here but me. Come, I will take you in. I’m sure you’re in need of a good meal and a proper roof over your head.”

“Thank you, I would. I’m Brennan Jones, former sailor.” He kissed the back of her hand like he’d read gentleman do in storybooks.

“Ondine is my name. I’m delighted to meet you, Brennan.”

Walking to the edge of the lake, Ondine stepped on a stone half buried in the earth. A cranking sound filled his ears, and Brennan watched as the drawbridge was lowered. What kind of magic was this, he wondered, but not for long as Ondine reached for his hand and led him inside. Together they crossed the courtyard and stabled the horse before closing the bridge behind them. They then continued inside the foreboding stone fortress she called home.

“Here,” she said entering a large hall draped in tapestries and adorned with tassels. A heavy table made of fine scrolled oak stood in the center surrounded by twelve chairs. “Wait for me here, and I’ll make you a fine meal.”

“You’ll make it? Do you not have servants? Surely, a woman who lives in a castle as grand as this has maids, cooks, and other staff to assist?”

“I do not. It is only I who resides here, and that’s the way I like it. Now please, sit, dear Brennan and I’ll feed you a supper lavish enough for a king.” With that, Ondine left the room.

A short time later she returned with a beautiful roast, cakes, and many other delicious things. She set the table and invited him to help himself. He did not need to be asked a second time.

After they’d eaten, they sat together in front of a warm fire and goblets of wine between them, talking as if they’d known each other a lifetime rather than a few passing hours. Brennan sensed Ondine was lonely, like he was, hoping to find solace in the arms of a true love. “Do you believe in the Fates?” he asked.

“The Fates?”

“Yes, three deity sisters who have the ability to control two souls, entwining them together for a lifetime?”

Ondine shifted her gaze, hiding a coy smile from him. “And you believe these Fates have brought us together?”

Brennan inched closer, eliminating the gap between them. “I do.” He brushed a finger along her porcelain cheek, so fair and soft he felt as if he were touching a feather.

“Even though we have not met each other before?”

“Aye.” He could not tear his sight from her sapphire eyes, even if he was told he would die if he didn’t. “The Fates know how to bring lost souls together.”

“Then the Fates are very powerful,” Ondine whispered, leaning into him.

“That they are,” Brennan replied and pressed his lips to hers, rosy and full.

One day at the castle led to two; and two days led to a week; a week became a month until Brennan asked Ondine to marry him and live together as husband and wife. She agreed, but with one condition, he must promise to let her go every Friday and never ask questions about what she was doing or ever follow her.

As odd as the request was, Brennan agreed, promising her freedom and privacy every Friday until the end of their life together. And for five years he kept his promise. Then one day, as Brennan played with their sons, four-year-old Liam and eight-month-old Killian, a voice could be heard shouting from the field.

Startled and curious, Brennan gathered the baby and ran with Liam to the drawbridge, lowering it for the stranger outside. When the man crossed, joining them in the courtyard, he introduced himself as Sir William Perrault saying he’d come to see his daughter.

In the five years Brennan and Ondine had been married, not once had she mentioned having any parents. He’d assumed all these years they’d been dead, and she left orphaned, forced to live alone. He stood aghast. “I’m sorry. I was not aware my wife had a father.”

“We all have fathers. Now where is my daughter?” the older man said sternly.

“It’s Friday,” young Liam said. “Mother goes away on Friday.”

Sir William cast a glare toward Brennan. “And you allow this? Allow your wife to galivant about alone? Where does she go?”

“I know not. She goes where she wants.”

“Ha! What kind of man are you? What kind of man not only let’s his wife out of his sight, but does not know where she’s gone? Are you not angered? Are you not curious? Nothing good can come from a life like this.”

His father-in-law’s insolence was too much to bear.  “I’m the man I want to be, and that is a husband to my wife. Now, be gone with you.”

“No.” Sir William stood his ground. “I have come for my daughter and I will have her. She needs to be with her family.”

He tried pushing past Brennan, but Brennan held him back with a firm palm against his chest. Sir William glared at the forceful hand holding him back. “No,” Brennan bellowed. “We’re her family.”

“Get your hand off me.”

Killian cried at the harsh grumble that bellowed from his grandfather.

Bouncing the boy, Brennan quieted him before handing him to Liam. “Find mum. Go, and take care of Killian.”

Liam did as he was told, running away into the castle.

“Come back here, child!” Sir William started after Liam. Brennan yanked the man to a stay, only to be met with a right fist to the jaw.

After all his years aboard ships and amongst rowdy men, Brennan knew how to fight and threw a punch into the man’s gut. William doubled over, gagging at the sharp quick pain. Taking the stunned moment, Brennan landed a swift kick to his head, sending his knighted father-in-law to the cobblestone unconscious.

Not wasting the moment, Brennan ran after his son. “Liam,” he yelled.

“Here, father,” a small voice came from the lower stairwell.

Brennan embraced the boy the second he found him. “Did you find mum?” he then asked.

Liam shook his head. “No. I did hear a noise though. Down there.” He pointed down the wooden stairs.

“Good lad,” Brennan patted his head. “Let’s take a look, shall we?”

Liam nodded, fear glistened in his eyes that so mirrored his mother’s. “It’ll be all right, son. Hold on to your brother tight.”

Together they descended the stairs to the lowest part of the castle. Like Liam said, there were noises coming from behind the closed door. Splashes, as if someone was bathing or swimming, to be more exact. Opening the door, the sight that greeted him was like no other. There, in a steaming spring swam his wife with a green flowing fin instead of legs. Brennan’s jaw fell slack, shocked.

Ondine swam to the surface with a screech. “Brennan! I told you never to search for me on Fridays…never to follow me.”

“I’m… I’m…sorry. I had to. Your father, he… he…” Quizzical words came jumbled from his mouth.

“Mother, that man means to harm you,” Liam warned for him.

Ondine’s eyes filled with terror, widening at Liam’s statement. “Brennan, what is he’s talking about?”

Taking a deep breath, and ignoring for the moment that his wife was half fish, he answered her. “Your father has come. He means to take you home.”

Reaching out of the water, Ondine held out her arms for the baby, cradling him to her wet body as he cried. “His kingdom is not my home. This is. And if he’s found us, then we must leave.”

Brennan shook his head. The man upstairs, prone on his floor, had introduced himself as sir, which would indicate a knighthood, yet Ondine said his kingdom. “He’s a king?”

“Yes, and a ruthless one. He cursed me this way with his knowledge of dark magic, because I would not marry the prince of a kingdom he wanted to conquer. I ran away from him and found this abandoned castle, taking it as my own. But still, every Friday, just like the day I was cursed, I’m a slave to the water. If he’s already done this to me, who knows what he might do if he finds me—us now?”

From the floor above, shouting could be heard for Ondine. It echoed through the empty halls, travelling through the castle. Footfalls started down the stairs they’d descended mere minutes ago. Brennan knew not what to do.

He knelt beside the water, kissing his wife. “I will not let him have you. You must get away.”

“How? My fin. I’m trapped in the water until midnight.”

Suddenly, Brennan remembered something an old man he’d assisted once on the docks of a town named Misthaven told him. If ever you find yourself in trouble, use this key and it will take you away from your problems. Then the man pressed a key attached to a thin leather strip into his hand. Brennan thought the man was senile, but took the key as payment since it seemed to be made of some precious metal. He’d wore the old thing around his neck and yanked it off, handing it to Ondine. “Here. This is how we can get away. It unlocks any door to another realm. Think of water and it shall appear. That’s how portals work.”

“Without you?”

Brennan kissed her, breathing in her essence deep. “We’ll be right behind you. But you go first. We’ll keep your father away.”

Lifting his wife from the water, heavy tail, baby Killian, and all, he rushed her to the door for dry storage at the end of the hall.

“Wait! Stop,” Ondine cried. “Liam, come son.”

Liam ran up behind them, and Brennan knelt as Ondine handed him his little brother. “Hold him. Keep him safe, always,” she said, and kissed the little boy. “I love you.”

“Love you too, mama,” Liam said, wrapping chubby arms around her neck.”

“Stand back, son.” Brennan stood and Ondine opened the door with the mystical key.

A swirling vortex of purple, blue, green, and pink appeared instead of the solid wood that once stood in its place. “I’m frightened, Brennan.”

Pressing his lips to hers, he parted saying the only thing he remembered his mother saying to him as a child. “Look inside. We’re all braver than we think, if we just look deep enough.”

Ondine nodded, holding back falling tears. “I love you.”

“And I love you.”

Pounding on the cellar door startled their farewell, breaking them apart. Liam screamed. Killian shrieked. “Go,” Brennan urged and Ondine leapt from his arms into the unknown aura of magic.

She disappeared and William lunged through the opposite door with a great yell. “No!!!”

With both hands he shoved Brennan to the ground. “You stupid fool! Do you know what you’ve done? My kingdom. My reign!”

One after another the king threw punches into his face, neck, chest…whatever he could touch, he hit with the force of a cannon ball being shot. Brennan had to protect himself and his wailing sons, and reached the sash at his waist. Inside he had a dagger tucked and thrust it deep into the gut of the vicious king. He repeated the strike over and over until finally blood bubbled from the king’s mouth, spilling upon him.  William grunted and growled, and knotted both hands above his head, ready to slam down a doubled-fisted blow into Brennan breastbone.

Thinking quick, Brennan did the same and sank the knife directly into the heart of the king with a great yell. William was dead. The body of the old man fell to the side, finally allowing Brennan to be.

“Father!” Liam cried.

Brennan crawled to him, collecting both boys in his arms. “Hush now. Gather all you have, for now we must leave. Your father has murdered a king.”

The child ran, leaving Killian in Brennan’s arms, and when he returned Brennan opened the storage door hoping to see the same swirling portal on the other side. But there was nothing. The magic gone, leaving a dirt floor, and shelving stocked with gourds, onions, and potatoes.

“What?” he said to himself. “This can’t be. No!”

He had to find her, and hitched the wagon, securing the children inside. He head toward the ocean. Once there, the king’s army surrounded the port, searching for their leader. Brennan looked down at his linen shirt stained with royal blood. If he were caught, he’d be killed. No, that was not going to happen. He had to be free. He had to find Ondine, she was the one who he loved, even more than the children she bore for him.  Without her, they wouldn’t even exist. He needed her, and silently brought the boys on board one of the ships; the soldiers unaware of their presence. He’d sail the seven seas, and every realm to find her, even if it meant hiding from the soldiers the rest of his life…he would find her.

Present day

Dropping the scroll to her lap, Emma shook her head. “Killian, I’m so sorry.”

Giving her a tight smile, Killian pulled her over to kiss her forehead. “It’s all right. It happened a long time ago. Funny, I always thought father was a thief, not a murderer.”

“Who told you that?”

“The man my father sold Liam and I to. Apparently, my father lied to save his own arse. Doesn’t surprise me.”

Emma’s brows knitted together in the middle. “You’re only focusing on your father, but what about your mother? Killy she could be here.”

“In Storybrooke, are you daft?” Surely she was if that’s what she thought.

“No, think about it. Your father gave her a key to unlock a door, sending her to another realm. Beans take you to where you’re thinking, but keys take you to the…”

He was following. “…to the Land of Untold Stories.”

“Right, and time is frozen there. Everyone who’s come through is exactly the same as they were the last day they were seen in their original realm. If that’s where she went, then there is a possibility she could be right here after all those years.”

Killian understood Emma’s need to be hopeful. It was in her blood. But he was always skeptical and despite seeing hope flourish in this town, he still couldn’t grab hold of it. This was his mother, a woman he’d wanted to know since he was a child. Father never spoke of her. Liam was too young to know her. Yet still, Killian dreamt of the woman who gave birth to him, but she never had a face. More than anything he’d love to meet her.

Lifting Emma’s hand, he kissed the back of it. “Perhaps. But I don’t want to think of that. Too painful after all these years. Come now, let’s go home. It’s Friday and I don’t want to spend it wallowing out in the cold. I want to spend it with the family I do have… you and Henry.”

“I’d like that too,” Emma said with a smile, then stood and kissed him, weaving her fingers through the back of his hair.

Returning to the yellow bug, Killian heard a splash behind him. Whipping around, he caught only the flurrying tips of a green fin diving under the surface of the placid water. Cocking his head to the side, he wondered… Nah, he was dreaming… or perhaps Emma’s sense of hope was getting to him after all. Either way, he followed his love to the car, and together they drove to their home.

Twenty Super Years Ago

It’s no secret that I am a HUGE Superman fan. I have been since I was a little girl. And today is a very special day in my Super-history. Today is the day 20 short years ago that I met Superman himself.

Now I’ve met celebrities before. I have tons of stories… some funny, some creepy, but none as extraordinary as the day I met Dean Cain on the wintery streets of New York City, November 22, 1996. Everything we did that day ended in disaster, and yet for some reason we were still guided through the day like a game of Sims to meet Superman.

Dean was scheduled to be on the Rosie O’Donnell show in New York City at 9am. NYC was a 2-hour plus drive for us, and the NBC studios suggested getting there early. So at 3:30 in the morning we were woken up by my mom blaring – and I mean blaring- the John Williams’ Superman theme song. I’ve never woken up at that time that excited before. By 4:30 we – my four sisters, Kelli, Kristin, Aimee, and MaCai- and my good friend Cindy, were piled into the family van and headed toward New York from Connecticut. We didn’t get far though, because our van broke down.

My father was persistent and we were all determined to get there though, so he brought the broken van home and we switched to his Ford Taurus, a 5 seater car for 8 people. Hey, we were rebels. It was tight, but we made it…a little late, but we were there.

Now came the awful part. We were in line, where it was first come first serve, for seating in the studio. All of eight of us rotated in and out of the spot, fairly close to the front for the next two hours. I didn’t switch too much, because I was too geared up to see the show. I probably only left to go to the bathroom, whereas the others would come and go for food or the gift shops in 30 Rockefeller Center. So when the studio people came by to pass out tickets this b***h behind us started making a stink about how we didn’t deserve tickets because we were always rotating, and she couldn’t leave even once to pee. We were like big deal. You could have left and someone would’ve nicely saved your spot. The people weren’t that mean, but this chick just made such a ruckus that I started yelling and shouting at her (emotions were really high) and eventually it was too much that I said, “That’s it. I don’t want to see Dean like this. I’ll constantly have a bad taste in mouth about the day.” And we left.

Outside Rockefeller Center I collapsed on the stairs, mind you right across the street from where the whole Kennedy family (Teddy and John Jr. included) were walking into St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a service over John Kennedy’s death anniversary, crying my eyes out. I was so incredibly upset, because seeing Dean was something I was so close to and it was ripped from me by a nasty woman.  My mom hugged me and gave me the quintessential mom speech of how things happen for a reason and only God knows the reason.

As silly as it seemed, she still prayed with me on the steps that if it was in His will that God would see the desires of my heart and open the doors that needed to be opened.  I remember doubting her words and maybe even scoffing at the thought that God doesn’t care if I meet a celebrity or not. But the hour wasn’t up yet…

We walked the New York streets for a little while until it started to flurry and get rather windy and cold, and we decided it was best to go home. So we smooshed ourselves into the Taurus and maneuvered through NYC traffic, even switching off Fifth Avenue to Madison because Fifth was gridlocked. We were almost to the end of the street, when at a red light my sister Kristin said, “Eryn look, it’s Dean!”

Kristin, God love her, was a tease and I think I told her to quit it. But she turned my head to the window and said, “NO, LOOK… it’s Dean!” And sure enough, IT WAS!

Everyone started yelling, “GO!!” and my sisters pushed me out of the car, right in the middle of the road.

I ran out and stood across the street from Dean taking luggage out of his limousine and signing autographs to the few fans that were outside. I called out his name and he looked up and waved. I squealed to myself and without thinking ran across the street, nearly getting hit by a car. I remember seeing Dean’s face just drop as he said, “Careful!”

I was an idiot, I hadn’t even looked before running. But hey, I made it and in just a few more feet I was right in front of the man I’d been infatuated with for the last three years on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanNow, I know people always say when they meet people outside of film, ‘oh they are so much better looking up close,’ but wow – it was the truth. If any of you thought Dean was gorgeous on television, it’s a different story up close… he’s exquisite!!! Black hair, tan skin, tall, muscular!! oh my gosh, and his eyes… gorgeous almond shaped with sienna brown irises, accented with flecks of gold. I’m not kidding, he is beautiful!

Now, that 20 years have gone by I don’t remember everything he said or I said, but I remember little flashes. I know I asked for a picture and he said sure, but no one else was around at that point. The fans had left, he’d sent his assistant inside the hotel to check in, and my family hadn’t showed up yet. This was before selfies, too, so I had no idea how this was going to work, and I was so nervous and shaky. Luckily, I felt a had on my shoulder and my sister was there saying she’d take my picture.

I ran right to Dean and latched arms around his freakin’ tiny waist. I remember hearing his laughter and seeing his big smile so genuinely happy he was making me happy. It was funny too, because as I was hugging him, I remembered his muscles and leaned my cheek against his chest feeling those oh-so-firm pectorals, then thinking, ‘oh my gosh, I’ve died and gone to Heaven.’ In fact, my picture with him is the face I was making when I leaned in.

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My sister Kristin went next, then Kelli, with each of them taking the pictures for each other.

By that point, my mother and my littler sisters  (Aimee was 5, MaCai was 6) came running up behind us. Aimee was yelling out, “Superman! Superman!” and Dean turned around and I heard him aww out loud at her cuteness.

Mom, on the other hand, was embarrassing – as mothers often are- she was saying, “I can’t believe we found you!” and picked up sister Aimee and literally threw her – yes threw her – into his arms. He caught her with a thud, her back to his chest. Thank God he was a football player!

He then knelt and lopped his other arm around MaCai. I don’t know how it happened but I had the camera. I was shaking like a leaf! I was also holding my gloves in one hand. Dean did notice that the gloves were covering the lens and said, “Hon? Hey honey, the gloves are in front of the lens.”

 

I was more enthralled that he’d called me honey, then sighed and realized what he was saying, and tossed to them ground. He laughed at me and I took the picture.

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The cool thing about this day was that it wasn’t an end, but a beginning. Like my mom had said on the steps of Rockefeller Center, God knows the desires in my heart. My desire wasn’t just to meet Dean, but to have a writing career, to meet the man of my dreams who would become my husband, and yeah to always have a Superman in my life.

Because of Dean and this day, I took my love of writing and apply to my love of history to become a historical fiction writer and researcher for other my books. When I wasn’t sure of where to go after college, I chose California because I loved it so much after visiting Warner Brothers Studio (where Lois and Clark was filmed). Because I moved to California, I met my husband, got married, and had a beautiful baby boy. And after meeting Dean again a few years ago, it has opened up far more writing doors than I could’ve ever hoped for. And lastly, the friends I’ve met, because of this man, have been life-long, deep connections I hope never to lose.

So Dean, if you are reading this, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for opening so many doors. THANK YOU for the last twenty years. And THANK YOU for always being MY Superman.

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My 50 Favorite Words (and 10 least favorite)

As a writer, I am a lover of words. Not just words strung together to make a sentence and eventually a story, but the actual word. There are SO many beautiful, fun, and interesting words in the English language and I’d like to share my favorites with you, broken into 5 categories. I’d love it, too, if you shared some of your favorite words with me as well.

 

Beautiful Words

These are words that sound beautiful rolling off the tongue and have exquisite meaning to go along with them.

Dalliance – A brief love affair

Dulcet – Sweet, sugary.  * One of my favorite lines in a old romance entitled The Princess by Jude Deveraux has this word it in it. “If it isn’t the dulcet tones of my royal wife.” The story was about a US solider forced to marry a Eastern European princess he hated.

Eloquence – Beauty and persuasion in speech

Gossamer – The finest piece of thread; a spider’s silk

Idyllic – Perfect, extremely pleasant.  * I learned this one from the 90s tv show, Lois and Clark, The New Adventures of Superman. Dean Cain, always had the best million dollar vocabulary.

Labyrinth – Twisting and turning. *Doesn’t it even sound mysterious?

Lilt – To move or speak musically. *I always think of the Scottish or Irish accents as being Liltish.

Petulant – Moody. *Another favorite from Lois and Clark.

Quintessential – Classic model.

Serendipity – Finding someone while looking for someone else.

 

 

Fun to Say Words

Give them a try. These are some of my all-time favorites to say aloud.

Bon Mot – A clever, witty remark or comment. *I learned this one last winter from my current favorite tv show Once Upon a Time, when the Evil Queen finally called Captain Hook by his actual first name instead of one of her constant bon mots (:30 mark – ps. ignore Hook’s aggression, he was cursed.)

Cacophony – A collection of various sounds all at once. *This one is often listed as an ugly word, but I think it’s gorgeous, and it’s so fun to say.

Coddiwomple – To travel with purpose toward a vague destination. *”Go West, young man.”

Discombobulate – To confuse or discontent, upset, frustrate.

Hemophiliac – A person with genetic disorders that don’t allow blood to clot.  *This always reminds me Grand Russian family, the Romanovs. The youngest son, Nicolas II was a hemophiliac

Maneuver – A planned and regulated movement.

Onomatopoeia – A words that sounds like it means, ex. Clink, Bang, Whoa.

Paradoxical – Having a nature of paradox, self-contradictory.

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Sepulveda Boulevard – A street name in Los Angeles, CA. * Okay, so this is just a personal favorite. It’s so fun to say out loud. It just rolls flawlessly off the tongue.

Vilipend – to regard or treat as little value.

 

 

Words You Didn’t Know There Were Words For

Who knows what that dangly thing is in the back of our throats? Or what the dot on top of the letter I is? (which subsequently are Uvula and Tittle.) There are plenty more words out there that I didn’t even know there were words for, and here’s a list of some of the better ones.

Agelast – Someone who never laughs. *And in turn, someone I would either not want to meet or would do my best to try and make them laugh.

Algedonic – Something both painful and pleasurable. *Ooh!

Mauerbauertraurigkeit – The inexplicable urge to push people away, even close friends who like you. * I’m pretty sure you’ll meet a person like this in my upcoming novel Falling for Hope. Keep an eye out, her name is Lucy.

Odium – Widespread hatred or digest for someone

Petrichor – The way it smells after the rain. *Or right now, if you live in Illinois.

Philtrum – The vertical groove between the upper lip and nose.

Pogonotrophy – The growing and grooming of facial hair.

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Sockdolager – A decisive retort, ex. A mic drop.

Torpefy – Make someone numb or paralyzed.

Vellichor Strange wistfulness of being inside a used bookshop.

 

 

The Best British Wordsengland-clip-art-free-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-rb6xuz-clipart

Our mother nation, The United Kingdom, has some of the best words, that both mean and sound amazing…especially when they say them in their seemingly proper sounding dialect. And being that my series Falling for Heroes is based around a British family, I have become quite familiar with many of these.

Arse-over-tits – To fall over; to be clumsy. * Gosh, how I love the Brits!

Bangers & Mash – A popular dish of sausages and mashed potatoes.

Bloody – Adds vehement to curses and phrases. ex. Oh bloody hell!

Bollocks – In short, balls. But it’s usually said as in the way Americans say, Damnit!

Bugger – A jerk. Or to go away, if you add off to it. ex. Bugger off, will ya?

Cheeky – Impudent in an amusing way

Fancy – To like someone, or would like something. ex. Fancy a pint? *A personal favorite.

Knackered – Tired

Peckish – Hungry

Rubbish – Garbage, or something untrue. ex. There’s nothing but rubbish in that tabloid.

 

 

Ugly Words

As an added bonus, these words both sound gross, as well as usually mean something unsavory to go along with it. How many of these do you agree with it?

Capitulate – To give in

Coitus – Sexual intercourse between a man and woman

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Fluid – A substance capable of flowing. ex. a liquid.

Lubricant – A substance, like oil or grease, used to lessen friction.

Manipulate – To manage or influence in a skillful, unfair manner.

Moist – Moderately damp. *Does anyone like this word?? I don’t think so.

Ointment – A soft, oily preparation often medicinal for application to the skin.

Regurgitate – To rush back from where it came.

Unctuous – The characteristic of oily, fatty, or greasy. *Funny, how most of these have to do with being oily and greasy. Like it’s a perquisite for a those types of words to be gross.

 

I’d love to hear some of you favorite, or least favorite words in the comments! I could always add some more awesome words to my mental list!

 

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Good Riddance

Yesterday, I was talking to a sweetheart of a girl at my gym about dating. She was twenty-nine and had yet to find that man of her dreams. Like I had been in my dating days, she was picky and no one had met her standards. Ooh that brought back some memories. How many dates had I been on that ended with me shaking my head for how horrible they went? Too many to count.

Let’s see, my first worst date was early in college when I went on a swim date with this kid. He “played” more with his male buddy in the pool than me. In fact, the other guy’s date or girlfriend that was there and I even started chatting and asking each other if they were gay and we were there for cover up.

Who knows, but can you say awkward….bro

In another blog article about kissing, a few years back, I wrote about feeling so sick after one date, that I had to call it quits before we got to the movie we were going to attend. I’m allergic to dairy, so whatever I ate must’ve had some kind of hidden cheese or milk, and I was doubled over with stomach pains. They gave me chills and I couldn’t handle moving on to the second half of the date, so since I drove (he lived on campus, and didn’t have a car. I did.) I brought him back to the dorms and said good night, apologizing for cutting our time short.  tumblr_lzx1vxsyf31qg39ewo1_500The jerk then still felt the need to get a good night kiss in, and slobberingly kissed me, including full tongue action. Gah! I wanted to gag, and shoved him away. He didn’t even have a chance to shut the door before I pulled out of the parking lot. Really, the nerve of him. Needless to say, he did not get a second date, and I yelled at him so badly the next day that he even dropped the class we had together. Good riddance!

In between those days and the next one I’m going to mention, were some good ones, and I had met some really nice guys, but still none of them had the forever quality. Connecticut, where I was raised, was just too small for my liking and I chose to move to San Diego, California for law school. And boy how those guys were different than the conservative Connecticuters I’d met before. First of all, there are the surfer dudes. They’re nice, relaxed, laid back, but weed is a constant vice. No thanks. Secondly, the law school guys–they were cunning and manipulative. I had one date me for my notes. Yep, he had a completely faked interest in me, but he sure liked how I could summarize case histories. Loser. And way too many of them, just wanted what every twenty-something year old guy wants, and I was not that kind of a girl. (Not yet at least. haha!)

sog_s37-k_2Thirdly, there were the Navy guys. Mmmm men in uniform. I met this one guy, I don’t even remember his name now, but he was hot. Dark cropped hair, big brown eyes, muscular, tall…and he was training to be a Navy SEAL. We had decided to go out on a weeknight, which meant that we had both had classes the next day, so we ate in. I made lasagna and spread our homework out on the dining room table. (Oh I should mention, I lived in a house with five other roommates, and I wasn’t alone, so I felt comfortable inviting him over with other people around.) I had my law school work, and he had a Navy textbook. Everything was going well, there was laughing and flirting, and then the ball had to drop… or to be more specific the seven inch SOG SEAL diving knife, which he so casually started sharpening at the table. Talk about uncomfortable. I realize it was normal for him, but the more I thought about it, the more I was like, no way…this is a first date and he’s digging out blades that could kill me with one flick of the wrist. Yeah, a second date never happened, and I was pretty glad. I could only imagine what he would have brought next… a Colt .45?

Shortly after the Navy SEAL, I met the man of my dreams, my now husband…here is the actual excerpt from my journal a week after I met him:

My dream of finding that “cave man”* was never so strong and so far away at the same time. I remember one morning just crying (it was a Wednesday morning), that I wanted the perfect man and I thought, what makes me want the perfect man, and then I realized it and said it aloud, “My father would never say anything like derogatory to my mom,” or any woman for the matter. I cried harder and was so saddened throughout the rest of the day. That is until Kung Fu that night. I was tying my sash when I turned to see a new face coming through the door. I did a double take because I saw a guy that had such a cute face and great smile.

Throughout the night we talked during class, he was also a white sash. His name is Jon and that night he changed my idea that there aren’t any more nice guys around anymore. I saw him the next night and the following and the following night as well. 4 nights in a row now. Each night was the equivalent of months at a time. 

He’s polite, kind, doesn’t unnecessarily swear, doesn’t drink or smoke, and is understanding, independent, but wants a security as we’ll, it’s engrained in him to be a gentleman. He listens to normal, fun music, likes the same movies as I do, is caring and considerate to feelings. And from watching him at work, he’s great with kids–he played magic trick with them during dinner. Most of all he wants a relationship that is open and honest and is full of caring that is not based on sex. It’s not the first thing on his mind and it’s so refreshing. He really likes me a lot too. I just hope and pray that this is it–the end of searching. The end of being lonely. 
P.S. On Monday, 5.2.2000 Jon asked if we could be a couple. I have a boyfriend now!!

Alright so I was pretty cheesy, but still, it was the end of the those days of searching, and those days of crappy dates and crazy guys.

Now, I know there are some of you out there that have some great stories to go with these. Share in the comments your worst date experiences, and we can vent together!

 

 

*cave men is a theory I have that there is this island where only the very best men are cultivated. They are a man’s man, but love their wives, and children like the breath in their lungs and more. I have a vision that when they are ready they emerge from this cave and the one girl who gets them is most lucky of all the women. There are very few that come from this cave, and that’s why there are so very few men like this out there. It’s the things I told myself during my lonely days

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Read Eryn’s latest book in the

Falling for Heroes Series: Falling for Phoenix

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And catch up on the first two books Falling for Shock and Falling for Freedom in the Falling for Heroes Boxset at the low price of $3.99. Two books for the price of one!

LIES

“Thou shalt not bear false witness…”

Yeah, we all know it, we shouldn’t lie. Courts make us swear in before witnessing; being truthful is part of the wedding vows, but we still do it, don’t we? From telling a new mom with an baby who’s nose is bigger than her face, that her kid is adorable to coughing over the phone to one’s boss just to get a day of peace away from work, we tell lies. Some are harmless, some are detrimental, and yeah, some are fun.

I’m a storyteller; a writer, and an Irish woman – I can tell some really good lies. I’m not bragging nor condoning lying, but I feel the need to confess and tell some of my better “stories” I have convinced others to believe. There are two that are very specific in my mind and if you went to school with me, I am so very, very sorry.

All right, here’s the first one. Father forgive me, I have sinned…I was in the 6th grade. I didn’t have that many friends. I was quiet and shy and probably wanted attention, so I concocted this story about how Tony Danza was my mother’s brother. Yes, my almost 100% Boston, Irish mother’s New York, Italian brother. (I must have been desperate).20080706-whos-the-bossWho’s the Boss was a popular television show at the time and I loved it. I used to emulate Alyssa Milano and sometimes even call myself Samantha. I don’t remember how it came up, but I decided to try out calling Tony Danza my uncle. Some kids believed me, some didn’t, some had reservations, but I became the girl who was saying that I had famous uncle. I even went so far as to bring in a picture of my own uncle, my father’s brother – since my mother has all sisters, where he wasn’t facing the camera and call him “Uncle Tony”.

I carried this “story” until summer break and then told just a few very close friends that it wasn’t true. The hype eventually simmered  and by 7th grade no one cared. Still, though, I do get the very random person asking if it was true that Tony Danza was my uncle and I have to laugh and say, No, I was stupid kid.

My other huge whopper of a tale was later in high school, when my younger sisters were in middle school. There was this one girl-let’s call her Hannah, since I’m pretty sure she’s on my sister’s Facebook page somewhere- Hannah was this showy, pretentious, spoiled brat that gave my sisters hard times all the time. She would brag about her uncle, who was an actual actor-let’s call him Jack- and was in many different movies and television shows (still is for that matter). Hannah would go on and on about how she met this celebrity or that celebrity, and Uncle Jack this and that. We wanted to take her down a peg.

a13043358-25At the time, Uncle Jack happened to have a small part in the movie Far and Away, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, who both lived in Connecticut about forty minutes from our hometown of Brookfield. So one day Hannah had gone on and on about Far and Away and Uncle Jack, that we decided to play with her and I call her pretending to be Nicole Kidman. Mind you this was before caller ID, so Hannah had zero clue who was actually calling her.

I have a pretty good knack for accents and put on my best Australian saying, “Hello, Hannah, it’s Nicole, your uncle gave me your phone number. Tom and malice_1993_3121687kI would love to invite  you to see the premiere of Far and Away with us in New York later this week.”
The poor, oblivious girl was excited and squealing. I think I even spoke with her mom too, who bought it, and I promised a limousine would pick her up on Friday at 7.

The next day, Hannah was bragging her little heart out to the whole school, especially to my sisters, sticking her haughty nose in the air about her call from Nicole Kidman. My sisters could only snicker in silence knowing not one word was true.

Now, we couldn’t go on letting Hannah think she was going to a movie premiere, so on Friday “Nicole” had a cold and said they were going to have postpone the premiere, thus ending the charade. I’m pretty sure my sisters told Hannah that it was me later on, but it certainly was fun. It might have taught the girl a lesson too, about what trouble one can get into bragging so much.

pinnochioSo those were my two favorite tales that I’ve spun in my lifetime. Tell me some of yours in the comments.

I’d love to hear the best lies, white lies, or long cons you’ve created in your lifetime. 

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Falling for Phoenix Ebook Cover1

Read Eryn’s latest book in the

Falling for Heroes Series: Falling for Phoenix

falling-for-heroes-box-set

And catch up on the first two books Falling for Shock and Falling for Freedom in the Falling for Heroes Boxset at the low price of $3.99. Two books for the price of one!