The Art of Filmmaking

Many of you know how I love to celebrate creativity here on my blog. It’s even better when that creativity runs in the family. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Tyler LaPlant, my nephew, to the world of filmmaking.

Tyler LaPlant – filmmaker

Tyler is a budding artist in the film world, interning for New Sky Productions and studying cinematography at Emerson College in Massachusetts. He’s only nineteen and already has a couple of film credits under his belt including: Mirrored, and Unfortunate which both were featured in the New Hampshire High School Film Festival 2020; Soldato’s Fate; a PSA about bullying which brings chills to those who watch it; and special footage in a music video by the artist Cameen. Today, his team is launching his newest short film, Retribution. Welcome Tyler!

For those who don’t know, what specifically is cinematography?

TYLER: Simply put, they’re the person who points the camera at stuff. However, it is much much more involved than that. A cinematographer’s job is to help bring the director’s vision to life through the lense of their camera. Not only are they responsible for camera operations, they also play a huge role in developing the visual style for the project. 

What got you interested in cinematography? 

TYLER: I took video production and tv broadcasting in high school and I fell in love with it. Behind the camera is my happy place. As I continue to study film, my appreciation for new and unique cinematography grows. 

Is there a movie that inspired you into the field? Or maybe one that inspires you now to strive for in the future?

TYLER: I have to say Robert Richardson’s work in Kill Bill vol 1. really opened my eyes to what striking visuals can do to an audience. That movie is a huge inspiration for me as both a cinematographer and director. As I watch more and more movies, I take mental notes on what I like, whether it’s framing, lighting, or camera motion. I’m always looking for little bits to add into my own work in the future.

When you’re working on a film, tell us how you block out your shots? Are they done before hand or do you go by how the day looks and wing it?

TYLER: My former teacher would like to hear that I’m committing to the pre-production process fully and having a complete shot list before I go on set, however I’m going to have to let them down a little bit haha. On the last short film I worked on, Retribution, I took on a more “run and gun” approach. We didn’t write anything down ahead of time, but the directors I worked with had a very clear vision for what they wanted. Ideally, though, I do work on an extensive shot sheet and paper edit for films that I work on. Ultimately, it’s better to have a plan rather than winging it. 

Do you take specific classes for cinematography? If so, what is a typical class like?

TYLER: I took a 2-year, college accredited, high school video production program. They went over everything from cinematography to lights and audio. I also interned for New Sky Productions for 9 months learning everything I could about the video production business. Currently, I’m saving up for school to further my education and take college level cinematography and film courses.

What is your ultimate goal in cinematography?

TYLER: I want to really create a story that people care about. I want my love and appreciation for this art to be seen through my cinematography. 

Would you ever want to venture into other aspects of filmmaking?

TYLER: Though I really love cinematography and being behind a camera, my ultimate goal is to be a director. I enjoy fully fleshing out stories. When I have a vision in my head, I feel confident enough to make that a reality through film. I have stories I think people would really want to see and hear and my life goal is to share those stories. Through school, and as an intern, I’ve done editing, script writing, audio and lighting, and live TV broadcasting. 

Tell us about your latest film, Retribution.

TYLER: Retribution is an action packed crime revenge story! It’s got blood, it’s got action, it’s got some really good cinematography from yours truly. Working on this project was a real blast, I got a chance to work with some really awesome local directors, and some amazingly talented actors. Everybody came together to show off the best of their abilities and I’m really proud of our efforts. I am really thankful to be able to be the director of photography on this one. Retribution we’ll be on YouTube September 25th!

CLICK HERE —> WATCH RETRIBUTION NOW!!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years… & then 10 years?

TYLER: In 5 years, I’d like to be finished with school and continuing work on independent films. In 10 years, I’d better be out of my mom’s house by then! In all seriousness, though, I really want to be working for A 24, they are my favorite production company right now. They have so many amazing movies in their catalog and I feel like some of my stories belong there. 

What’s on the docket next for you?

TYLER: I’m currently writing a screenplay for a short film I’m going to be directing. It’s an Italian gangster film about a newbie on his first job with the crime family he comes from. I’m hoping to get this, and Retribution into the New Hampshire Film Festival.

Thank you for your time with me today, Tyler. I’m sure Retribution and whatever else you have in the pipeline is going to be incredible. You are a very talented young man. I hope perhaps one day we can work together on a project. Good luck in all you do!

Please give Retribution a click and like, and check out Tyler’s instagram feed for more and upcoming projects. https://www.instagram.com/videotyler27

Goals – Play Like Balto Campaign

As many of you know, I have started a donation shop for two dear friends of mine, Darcy Storer and Michael Loy. They lost their dear Cowboy Corgi, Balto, in a freak accident about a month ago. He was only 1 1/2 years old… just a pup. In order to try and save his life, their vet bill rose into the four digit mark, and in the end they had to choose having the little guy euthanized.

This campaign is a surprise for Darcy and Mike, as they would have simply found a way to borrow the money and dutifully pay it back, but they deserve more. The couple just recently moved from Illinois to Ohio to be closer to ailing family, both started new jobs in the last couple of weeks, and Darcy graduated college earlier this year… that’s a lot of financial burdens placed upon them, so I wanted to help where I could.

I have a goal of reaching $500 in this campaign, through the sale of Play Like Balto t-shirts, tanks, hoodies, water bottles, totes, sticker…etc. And after a week of sales, we’ve raised $30. It’s a good start, but we still are far from the goal. I’ll be extending the shop’s end date until the end of October, so we can keep the momentum going.

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Play Like Balto

CLICK HERE! –> REDBUBBLE



Play Like Balto

Dogs exist all over the place. Vet bills are outrageous for everyone. Everyone loves their pets. So what makes Darcy and Michael so different? Why am I so gung ho with the Play Like Balto campaign, you may ask? It’s because of what Balto did during his very short life that makes him so special.

This week and next, I will be focusing on the little aspects to Balto and his “parents” lives, to give you the full insight on my T-shirt/Gifts donation campaign on RedBubble running until October 1st, 2020.

Darcy Storer is a recent graduate from Illinois State University with a speciality in animals and wildlife and wants to dedicate her life to veterinarian science. Within her studies she had several classes on the psychology of pets and reactions with humans. So, when Darcy adopted Balto, her Cowboy Corgi, she wanted to train him to be a counseling/therapy dog.

As a therapy dog, Balto could be taken into schools, nursing homes, hospitals, or individual homes in order to comfort people. Colleges have therapy dogs come in around mid-term and final times to help the students destress. In nursing homes, hospitals, and individual homes trained therapy dogs give a friend to those who need one, cure anxiety, and bring comfort to the patients and residents. People perform better under mental and/or physical stress when a therapy dog is by their side. These dogs are trained to sit and stay with patients, are taught to walk nicely, not bark or become distracted, and to hug…. yes, I said hug. Balto learned the command hug with just one tap on the shoulder from the person directing him.

Balto the Hugger
Operant Conditioning Psychology class
Antonia Min fellow student was quoted as saying, “For a while now, I’ve been really feeling down and have actually considered quitting dog lab. But today, I feel really proud of myself for teaching Balto how to give hugs. Photo credits to Balto’s PAWesome mom!

Balto worked every Tuesday and Thursday for six months in an Operant Conditioning Psychology class to earn his therapy dog status and graduated with Canine Good Citizen diploma.

Balto in training
Balto gives his instructor, Val Farmer-Dougan, kisses

So, please consider contributing to the Play Like Balto campaign and help Darcy and Mike with the loss of their precious Balto. We have t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, tanks, hoodies, stickers, magnets, pillows, water bottles, and totes!! Stop on by and pick up an adorable present and help the memory of Balto live on.

CLICK HERE! ——–> REDBUBBLE

Six Years Ago…

I’m finding it poetic how Falling for Strength’s release just so happened to come just two days after the release of Falling for Shock, the first book in the Falling for Heroes Series. Ha! Series…

Falling for Heroes was never intended to be six books long. It was never intended to be one book long. This little story started from an idea that hit me after walking the streets of Plano, Illinois where the movie Man of Steel was filmed. It was only supposed to be a short story or fanfiction, if I’m being honest. At the time, I was writing a third historical fiction, but along came Oliver Hannel and his brothers and the rest is history.

It’s been such a pleasure creating this family, the Hannels and later the Delgados, and bringing different personalities to each brother and sister. I feel like they are real people and I know them as well as I know my own family. Oliver is the charismatic gentleman, the artist, and the romantic. Edward is protector, the worrier, the keeper of peace. Rhys, ahh Rhys –he knows women, he loves women, but he had to fix himself before he felt he was worthy enough for the right one. Alexander, my surprise brother, even I didn’t know he was coming around. With him my trilogy became a series, welcoming the Delgados in the Hannel world: Isabel, the feisty and loyal; Miguel, the wanderer and lover; and Rowan, the educated and brave.

And here we are now, wrapping up the last of the Delgado clan six years almost to the day that Falling for Shock began the whole saga. I hope my readers have enjoyed my family and my series. I’m quite proud of them and I promise, this won’t be the last of them.

Life Imitates Art – Pt. II

For some reason I have a knack for inventing fiction that later turns out to be true. First of all, I just love it when this happens, and secondly, I will keep sharing these odd coincidences with you as they occur.

In 2017 Falling for Hope debuted with this cute team of Annie and Bob Romeo, a pair of celebrity reporters, who ran a gossip show much like Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood, called The Romeo Report. 1016I based these two on a couple of friends actually named Ann-Marie Zammit and Bob Romeo. Ann-Marie is my brilliant editor as well as an extraordinary singer and actress out of Canada, and her husband, Bob is a Director of Marketing for Goodwill, who also dabbles in reporting from time to time. His news stories and Ann-Marie’s on-stage charisma were what drew me to create their alter egos. I chose The Romeo Report name not only because it was Bob’s last name but because Romeo and Juliet is an extremely well-known play and several famous people have acted it out, thus being perfect for a celebrity based news team. The Romeo Report just flowed.

Fast forward to Sunday and my lovely editor texted, saying that Bob was given a new local cable show that they are going to call The Romeo Report! I immediately asked if she gave them the idea since she knows my books practically by heart. Ann-Marie said the local cable people came up with it. I was so excited for Bob and overjoyed that The Romeo Report was becoming a show all its own.

 

From Falling for Hope:

Once they were out of her sight, she pulled up Hollywood’s Celebrity News Network to find this Romeo ReportAaren had watched. Sure enough, right on the front page in bold lettering was “Oliver Hannel’s Daughter Makes London Debut.”

Lucy clicked on the video link with the husband and wife reporting team of Annie and Bobby Romeo interviewing Oliver and Layla in Hyde Park.

“Congratulations, on the new baby. How does she like London so far?” the wife of the team asked.

Oliver shielded Rose from the camera, holding her tight to his chest, so only a bit of black curl peeked out from the pink blanket. “She hasn’t told us otherwise, but we think she likes it.”

“Will she be raised here or stateside?”

“Probably both. My wife is more comfortable in her native country.” Oliver answered. Doting Layla was on his arm. He’d glanced at her and smiled. They were a sickeningly perfect Hollywood couple. Lucy almost wanted to gag, but knew it was all a façade for the cameras. In real life, they were a normal married pair who sometimes argued, and lounged in sweats while binge-watching political dramas. They weren’t perfect all the time.

“How excellent for you two.” Annie, the reporter, tossed long, pin-straight mahogany hair over her shoulder like Cher in the seventies. “And it looks like no nannies or assistants are following after you. Does that mean you change the nappies, Oliver?”

Both Oliver and Layla laughed politely, but Lucy could see their awkwardness with the private nature of the question. “I’m fairly handy with a wipe these days. No need for extra help.”

“If only more Hollywood families were like you two,” Bobby, the husband anchor said with laughter in his voice. “Thank you very much, you guys. Have a great stay.”

 

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My second amazement came at my local grocery market, where I work part time. I’ve always taken noticed of this one guy in the produce section whose name is Isaac. He’s has an athletic build, chiseled square jaw line, brown eyes, and longish wavy red hair, just like Sam Heughan,

Sam again

Sam Heughan from Outlander

the actor I based my Rowan Delgado on in Falling for Strength, minus the brown eyes. Sam has blue but since Rowan is half-Spanish, I gave him brown. Score one for Isaac, looking even more like Rowan than the intended, Sam. I didn’t know Isaac well at the time, and therefore never told him of his connection to Rowan fearing he’d think I was crazy. One day, I figured out that a few others in Isaac’s family worked at the store too and had the names Reyna and Marquez as surnames. What a surprise to learn that my new acquaintance was part Spanish. There’s no way I would’ve known that, so I decided to talk to Isaac and bare my crazy imagination to him about being almost a perfect replica of the image of Rowan Delgado.

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Isaac Reyna

Now here’s the freaky part… while speaking to him, I learned he has a little girl and her name is Hadleigh. I dropped whatever it was that was holding and stared at the man like he had three heads. Hadleigh is the name of a nurse in Falling for Strength. Life imitating art almost to a tee!

 

Like I said above, I love when these things happen and I truly can’t wait to find out which strange coincidence comes to fruition next!

 

 

From Falling for Strength coming out April 27th!

DREAMING OF A BED, full stomach, and no shift for 72 hours, Rowan’s Nikes hit the floor in a sudden drop. “Delgado, we’ve got a 10-50 en route. Prep trauma one and two stat. Page OB.”

            Eyes flying open wide, Rowan jerked upright, grabbing the phone from the Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital desk. 10-50, vehicle accident, damn ice. It had been freezing rain for a few hours, from what he could tell out of the commissary window. Fingers full of adrenaline trembled while he dialed the appropriate numbers. He was grateful for it though, as it was all he had left driving him through yet another trauma at the tail end of his twenty-hour shift. Doctors were at least allowed to use the on-call room for naps when their shifts were longer than twelve hours, but not the nurses. Nope, there was no rest for the enslaved, not even on Christmas Eve.

“No way, I’m stealing the ginger for trauma one,” one of the female doctors, Helen Vaughn, called out to the others behind the desk. Next thing Rowan knew, she’d hooked a finger inside his collar. “EMTs say we’ve got a flailer. I need all the muscle I can get. You ready for a work out, Red?”

Rowan flexed a playful bicep for the gorgeous brunette doctor he’d had his eye on for the last month, since getting the position in A&E. “Yes, ma’am. Just had these inflated yesterday.”

Second Excerpt from Strength:

“Short haired, Brunette? Oh, that’s Hadleigh, she was sent over this morning from Wanderly Traveling Services, since we’re at occupancy.” Gayle seemed calm despite Rowan’s erratic heartrate at the thought of Kiera and this nurse strolling around the hospital. And from the pinch of Brannagh’s nails biting into the skin of his forearm, she was anxious as well.

“Isn’t she too new to be gone this long?” she asked.

“This is baby Delgado we’re talkin’ about, yeah?” Gayle was clicking around on the computer.

“Yes,” both Rowan and Brannagh barked at the same time.

“She is wee one, but she’s been doin’ quite well. Don’t fret. Hadleigh probably took the long way through the atrium. Give her a moment. Take a seat and relax a bit.”

 

What’s New for Author Eryn LaPlant in 2020?

Between fatal viruses, already ridiculous campaigns, and ex-royals and helicopter crashes shaking up the world… how about I give you some good news?

This year there won’t be ONE Eryn LaPlant book released but THREE! Yes, I said three. I know, exciting huh?

MARCH 2020 celebrates the release of the Author’s Edition: Beneath the Wall

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The Amazon Bestselling epic historical fiction is coming back with a great big facelift. New cover, updated edits, and some extras you will not want to miss. It will be available in ebook as well as paperback on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and KOBO.

 

 

APRIL 2020 the final book in the Falling for Heroes Series: Falling for Strength will be making its debut!

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You’ll be meeting Miguel and Rowan Delgado and their counterparts, Norah and Brannagh Kilcullen in a tale of love, despair, and the depths of strength the human soul can take in times of tragedy.

 

 

 

SUMMER 2020 is not only my birthday but it’s the month Lilly found Brandon in The Blue Lute, also being rereleased in a special Author’s Edition version.

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Just like Beneath the Wall, The Blue Lute is getting a radical renovation from the back cover to the front and everything in between. I’m so happy to be able to give my first “children” the attention they deserve and so much more.

 

 

 

From there, I have so many ideas floating in my head, from revisiting some work I never finished to the development of a new Hannel family series!! There is so much happening in my world and I cannot wait to share it with you. Stay Tuned and watch this space!

 

 

Leaps and Bounds: The One Year Anniversary of Penny the Pomeranian

Happy One Year Homecoming to Penny!

Last year, 20 days after we lost our Pomeranian Marley to a freak car accident, this little love popped up on the Humane Society’s website.

The Humane Society has named her Patty but it didn’t fit. She was a coppery blonde and I renamed her Penny.

She was estimated to be about 8 years-old due to her bad teeth – which had recently been pulled the same time as having a spay surgery. The doctor said she’d had several litters and was most likely a breeder dog for a puppy farm. Her feet were strangely formed and she was barely 4 pounds. Marley was 8 lbs and maybe even 9 in the winter when he was super fluffy 😉. Her hair had been matted so the society had cut her hair way down. Her knees popped with luxating patellas stage 2 from lack of exercise and strength in her legs. Physically she was a mess.

First night, new home

Meeting human brother, Cameron.

So scared

Mentally she was worse. When Penny came home with me she was scared and timid of everything around her. She didn’t eat, drink, or eliminate in front of us at all. She waited until we left her for the night and we found everything magically gone. She didn’t know how to walk on a leash. She never barked. She didn’t even meet your eye. She just sat there in her bed almost catatonic. Jon used to joke that we adopted a dud, but she wasn’t a dud… she didn’t know how to be a dog.

I was so worried about how she really was, so after a week I took her in to the vet to see how bad off she was. He said she was a beautiful dog but had A LOT of issues. When I asked how can I help her. He said one word: LOVE. Love her and her instinct will come to her.

I never gave up and let her grow at her own speed. It wasn’t until after we adopted Merlin, early December, did Penny first bark, and even then to catch her barking was a rarity. And with the new puppy she began to play and slowly act like a dog. Below is the video is the actual first bark we caught on camera.

 

Miss Sassy Pants

A year later and Penny still keeps to herself but she has come out of her shell in leaps and bounds. She not only walks and prances around but runs around the backyard like she owns the place. She puts Merlin, who outweighs her by 21 lbs, (she’s a whopping 5.5 pounds now- still tiny but a healthy tiny) in his place with little growls and snarls, instigating fights and all.

 

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Karen the Ma’am

If you don’t do something she wants you to do, like pick her up or give her food, she gets this sassy little bark that my friend Darcy calls her “ma’am” voice (we’ve nicknamed her Karen because that bark is the personification of those memes of Karen asking to speak to the manager.)

 

 

 

 

Watching Penny grow into the sassy little miss she is now has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever witnessed. Sure, she still has issues, like not walking on a leash, but from where she was to where she is now is simply astounding. Many a tear of joy have I shed over this little wonder. She truly is a gift.

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One year in my forever home

 

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Dean Cain the Writer

 

Dean Cain in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Dean Cain in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

As many of you know I created my character Mack in Beneath the Wall after the then 28-year-old Dean Cain from Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-1997), but just recently I also made a more up-to-date version of him in my latest novel, Falling for Shock (now available on Amazon – just click the title). Dean was in my mind as the strict but friendly director of Oliver Hannel’s movie “The Shock”, Mr. Dean Clemens. How could I not give Dean another part, especially when he helped me with some of the research for the book. What can I say, I needed some inside information that wouldn’t normally be known to those outside the Hollywood industry and didn’t know who else to turn to. I was able to ask such questions as what type of wires are used for making a superhero fly? What kind of harness do you use? How many cinches are holding you in safe and sound? What happens when the lead is sick or hurt? Are there private medics on staff? How comfortable or uncomfortable are those spandex suits? Mr. Cain was more than obliging to answer any question I had openly and honestly.

 

Now, I bet you’re asking how a girl who had been a crazy Lois and Clark fan go from fangirl to friendly professional acquaintance to well-known actor? Well, if you remember last year around this time I was given the opportunity  to present Dean with a copy of Beneath the Wall for his personal collection.  He was excited and humbled to have been a part of my story and even promised to read it.  Since that day last year, he and I have stayed in touch on Twitter and through my work on another Superman’s site, HenryCavill.Org, Dean agreed to a telephone interview to discuss Batman vs. Superman, his appearance on Superman’s 75th birthday celebration on Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men and his current work on VH1’s Hit the Floor.

 

Princeton Tigers Dean Cain #11

Princeton Tigers
Dean Cain #11

That interview went amazing and after the fifteen minutes of questions were finished, Dean and I continued to chat about reading, writing and history. It was pretty awesome. For those of you that don’t know too much about Dean’s life, he is a Princeton graduate with a degree in History. Hmm who does that sound like – yep, me! And like me, he didn’t want his History degree for teaching or working in a museum, no, he wanted it so he could write. “I just love being able to tell stories,” Dean said. “It’s a great way to make a living. You can tell stories and you are constantly finding new ways to express yourself and your beliefs or tell stories and maybe affect people’s lives.

 

“Screen writing is a very different medium clearly than novels. You’re so limited in scope and I try to write them so they read more like a novel than some others do.  I like my screenplays to read like a novel and let the director go ahead and figure out what camera pushes he wants to make and things like that.”

 

Strangely enough, even though I’m not a screenwriter, I could relate. Telling stories everyday IS a wonderful way to make a living, well as long as you don’t get interrupted. “Hell hath no fury when you interrupt a writer,” I quipped.

 

Dean agreed with me that time and let out a boisterous laugh.  “Yeah, people can always tell when I’m writing because when my phone rings and I answer it, I say “’Hello [very clipped and monotone]’. Normally, I’m very upbeat and say ‘Hel-lo,’ but not when I’m writing. Then it’s all business. And the person on the other line says, ‘Oh are you working?’ ‘Yes [he replies again short and agitated],’ then it’s, ‘Good-bye,’ and they hang up on me.”

 

It was hilarious and somewhat surreal having a conversation with a guy I admired for years, chatting with me like we were old friends. But at the same time I was grateful. He didn’t have to talk to me, didn’t have to acknowledge me at all, but he did.  That says volumes about the character of Dean’s being. In the end I thanked him for calling and agreeing to do the interview with me.  To which Dean replied, “It’s my complete pleasure, Eryn. And I still have your book and I plan on reading it. It’s sitting on my desk right here. Unfortunately so are about 6 other work related things too.”

 

“Aww well, anytime you can read it will be great,” I said, but then remembered a little something about my books, that I didn’t tell him about. Sure they are historic and action adventure but first and foremost they are romantic. And where they aren’t Fifty Shades by any means, they are still sexy. Needless to say I felt the need to warn him about the romantic stuff. red-kiss-mark-md

 

Dean laughed at my warning and warned me in return. “I’ve gotta tell you, Eryn, that stuff doesn’t make me too uncomfortable. That may give me more incentive to read it, and reread it and reread it until your phone will be ringing again and you’ll have to tell me to stop calling you!”

Twenty-year-old me deep down inside literally swooned over his statement and I fanned and composed myself enough to say a proper good-bye. In the end, Dean added one final compliment that I will forever hold dear.  “I do appreciate anything I had to do with your journey into historical fiction and hero writing. It’s cool as hell.”

Eryn and Dean 11/22/96 and 3/23/13

Eryn and Dean 11/22/96 and 3/23/13

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Watch Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman NOW

Ode to Feet (not in a creepy way)

Sorry if you’re grossed out by feet but I feel the need to comment on these vein-popping feet of mine. E feetI’m on my feet a lot. I run to keep in shape. I walk to exercise to my dog. I scurry to stay busy at work. I bolt when my child needs me. I leap with joy when my family is home. These feet have had a tiresome time lately. They hurt. They ache. They’re numb in certain toes from constant use.

I felt the need to let these feet of mine be free today. No socks. No shoes. Nothing holding them back from experiencing the relief of the cool, wet earth beneath them. I walked through the grass of the field behind me and was renewed with each step. I didn’t have socks binding my toes and arches. I didn’t have cushions, material, and laces encasing them from the harsh concrete, wood, and tile I’ve stood upon all day. I gave them the tickle of grass, the child-like humor of mud, and the chill of rain from the night before.E feet mud

My feet that I abuse daily, seemed to heal from their aches and pain the more I shuffled through the elements and let them be what they are – the two strongest parts that support me. They deserved the love. I deserved the love and with it came the solace that nothing can change my peace of mind (or feet) but me, taking that moment to relax.

Fiction Friday: The Titanic

I thought I’d do something a little different today and give you one of my very first public historical fictions ever. I knew early on that I wanted to be an author. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I started out writing New Kid on the Block “fan fictions” back in high school with my best friend, Dawn Taylor. For our senior project in school we illustrated and wrote a children’s book together. I was supposed to be the illustrator, since art was where my project originated from, and the writing was Dawn’s for her English class. But we both ended up writing the book (and I still did the drawing too).

As I continued into college, writing became my first and foremost priority over art (my original major). I never was an English major though, I studied history and usually had anywhere from 3 to 5 or more papers a week to write. I never tired of constantly writing and continued to write my side fictional stories for fun too. When it came time to write my history senior thesis, a 50-page heavily researched historic paper, the professor, a wonderful man named Dr. John Leopold, asked what I wanted to write. He mentored everyone this way at the beginning and then it was up to us to finish the work on our own time. I remember our conversation quite vividly. I was wishy-washy about what non-fictional subject I wanted to tackle. I suggested the 1920s, or something in Ireland, or maybe something on the Titanic.

He stopped me and said, that the Titanic was an interesting topic, but what was my approach on finding out something new about the Titanic that hadn’t been done before? (that was one of the instructions for the project, we had to research and find out something new about our subject).

I did mention that there was a lot of research on the first class and the lowest class of passengers, but it was the middle class that was often forgotten.

It was Dr. Leopold’s turn to hmm and haw, and finally he said to me, “You write fiction, don’t you Miss LaPlant?”

To this day, I don’t know how he knew that, but I said, “Yes.”

He, in turn, said, “I will let you write a historical fiction on your topic, if you back it up with your allotted amount of research.”

I flipped out! I was SO excited and at one point, later on in the semester, I asked if it could be more than 50 pages. I was told a big fat no on that one, because it would force me to keep within the requirements like a true author would in the job world. Like I said, he was an awesome professor. He knew what he was molding me for, and I’m so grateful for his guidance.

Fast forward to the end of the year, and we, not only had our papers evaluated by the students, but by the team of professors in the history department. I had students coming up to me in the bathroom saying they cried during my paper and thought it was so good, but I still wasn’t sure how the professors would like it. What if I were graded poorly since it was fiction? What if they thought I took the easy way out?

I worried and shook like a leaf in a rain storm the day Dr. Leopold handed out the final evaluation to all the students in my class. Like a good teacher he handed them face down so other students wouldn’t see the grades and let the individual person turn it over when they were ready. He then added that he only gave out one A. And as he stood at my desk with my paper in hand, he stared down at me and said, “Congratulations Miss LaPlant,” and set my paper face up with the A on the very top. Everyone clapped and to this day, it will go down as one of my favorite moments in my life.

So, without further ado, I’d like to share this short story with you. Mind you, I wrote this when I was 21 years old and didn’t have the knowledge of true formatting and proper fictional writing like I do now. But please – enjoy!

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