I’m Silly, Unique, and Nerdy – Get used to it!

I’ve been doing a few interviews here and there to coincide with the release of Beneath the Wall, but sometimes they can be only the facade of who Eryn really is.  So today I thought I would peel away the exterior and give you a glimpse of the Eryn inside with the Top Five Things You Don’t Know About Me (in random order).

#1.  I’m a gamer. I love videos games.  Jon got me hooked when we met and I found that love the escape of “being” in a different world.  Sims is my all-time favorite!  I actually create my characters and what I picture their houses to look like in the game. I’ve also rebuilt every house/apartment I’ve ever lived in there too.  I don’t know what I’d do if I lost the files!  I do take screen shots though:

Lilly’s apartment in The Blue Lute, my next book.

Brandon’s loft – again from Blue Lute

And yes, we have raised our son to be a gamer too.  Cameron and I have Mario Kart tournaments and play several games together like: Super Mario Bros (I’m always Luigi), Skylanders, World Gone Sour, N+, Superhero Squad, Spiderman, Ironman… etc.

We play them all and usually with a bowl full of popcorn between us and Earl at our feet catching the crumbs.

#2.  As much as I love love, I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 18. And no that has nothing to do with my secret gamer-life! I told you I didn’t start into that until after I met Jon.  And speaking of Jon, he was the first person and only person I have ever fallen in love with and that was at the ripe old age of 24.

That doesn’t mean though that I wasn’t a constant romantic.  I always wanted to meet my soulmate and I ached every day to find that person so I could bring life to the love I felt in my heart.  It was a rough time in my early twenties when all of my friends were dating, getting engaged and getting married and I was still stuck with no one.  But as I look back, I wouldn’t change anything because I learned from that loneliness and was able to do very interesting things with my life, like travel across the country, live on my own in a big city, and really and truly find exactly what I wanted in a guy.  I learned not to settle for just anything but strive for exactly what I searched for.

#3.  If anyone read the acknowledgements at the beginning of Beneath the Wall, you might have noticed I wrote that only Earl, Jett and Ellie are the only three who know I talk out my scenes before I write them.  Well, I wasn’t joking. I do. It just helps.  I may look like an idiot or like I need to be put in a rubber room when I’m cleaning the yard talking to myself or riding my bike arguing with the air.  Yep, that’s what I’m doing, working out the dialogue to a new scene.  So if anyone ever sees me gabbing and no one’s around, just know a new scene is going into my book! (L to R in the photo: Earl, Jett, Cameron *sometimes he’s around too* and Ellie)

#4.  I am a car enthusiast.  I like learning about cars and how they work, their history and I love the artistry that car makers use to design their vehicles.  My favorite is mentioned in Beneath the Wall,  a 1966 Ford Mustang. If I had one I’d have it painted turquoise blue with chrome and a white interior.  Ohhhh yeah!

I don’t know what got me started on liking cars, but I do know it’s been going on a while.  In fact, I always said I wanted a Lamborghini for my 16th birthday to my grandpa and would you know he gave me one… Yep, a white Lamborghini – Hot Wheels car!  He was so cute!


#5.  I have either visited or been through (for more than 20 mins.) 36 American states: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and California.

I have collected something from each state and I’ve taken pictures of the border signs from almost all of them (I don’t have too many in the east coast only because I used to live there, so I didn’t care).  I have a life goal to see all 50 by the time I’m 50.  I might be able to do it too!!  I’m more than half way there.

So what did you think?  What are some interesting talents, traits, facts about you that you’d like to share in the comments below?

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Celebrate!

This weekend I was blessed to have a book release party for Beneath the Wall.  Having a book published is  a dream come true and a major accomplishment. Celebrating this moment was almost as big of a deal as the actual release!  For weeks I planned out the tiny details from what to wear to the style of the menu.  At first, I thought we could do a 1960s theme and even have my guests dress  appropriately, but my husband said that was stupid.  I still did my hair and make up in the 60s style though.  I tried to get Jon to wear something Marine like, but he refused… at least I got him out of ordinary shorts and a t-shirt for the night.


The party took place at our home here in Springfield.

Last year Jon transformed our patio from an everyday renter’s stone-floored, boring patio to an exquisite outdoor entertainment area.


He built a fire in our pit and I lit the whole place up with candles and plucked roses all around.

 It was beautiful!

        

As for the menu, we decided to celebrate the place where the story takes place: Vietnam (East Asia). Vietnam is where my characters meet, it’s the setting of the whole story and Mack’s heritage is half Japanese so Asian was definitely a theme to go with. And sticking with the military side of the story, my former Marine neighbor, Justin, entrusted me with some of his belongings to decorate the tables with.

We had Asian Turkey meatballs made with ground turkey, minced fresh ginger, garlic and green onions and a sesame dipping sauce.  They were delicious! (well, sort of – it was such a busy day that they stayed in the oven a little too long and dried out rather quickly, but hey I couldn’t do it all.  But the flavor was there!)  Adding the menu we also had fresh shrimp cocktail, an assortment of fruits and vegetables brought by a couple of our guests.  My friends were so sweet too, keeping their food as festive as could be. Mandi Miller, my very good friend and Grammar Guru, cut her cucumbers into stars and fellow author M.J. Schiller brought a fruit and cheese dish, cutting the cheese in the shape of dog tags!  Both surprises were wonderful!

Along with our food, I also made some peppermint iced green tea and basil infused lemonade to drink.  The added herbs came fresh from my garden and added such a nice little pop to the normally boring beverages.  No party is complete without dessert and there is nothing better, in my opinion, than cake! My sister had this cute idea to have the individual cakes spell out the title of the book, since we didn’t have an actual copy of Beneath the Wall on hand yet.  

After we ate, my dear husband gathered us around with Moscato (an Italian sparkling wine) and sparkling grape juice and toasted to my accomplishment and we gave thanks to those family and friends who supported me throughout the years in getting Beneath the Wall written and produced.  In turn, I also thanked him for all his support and allowing me to follow my dream.  I couldn’t have done any of this without him and I will be forever grateful for him being with me on this journey.

    

In the end, we chatted and laughed without friends and before we said goodnight, I came out with one more surprise: I gave everyone homemade fortune cookies that had quotes from the book inside, instead of fortunes.  My son was more than excited to run inside and grab a flashlight so all of us could read what line we got in out cookies.



My dear friend and fellow novelist M.J. Schiller wrote. “Last night I had the pleasure of attending my girlfriend, Eryn’s, book release party for “Beneath the Wall.” It is a Vietnam War era romance and so I tried to channel my inner hippie for the occasion, only to discover, I have no inner hippie! Beautiful evening with themed food, Oriental meatballs, gigantic cupcakes that spelled out “Beneath the Wall,” even HOMEMADE fortune cookies with quotes from the book inside. Eryn had stepladders with candles on the rungs outside of her beautiful brick-walled courtyard, a camo helmet and a dress hat on top of the wall, and books about the service on the sidetable as decorations. Her friends were delightful and her son, Cam, has had my heart since the first moment I laid eyes on him. Hubbie, Jon, made a beautiful toast and I got to meet Eryn’s parents, who I already admired from their work in Cam’s Spiderman video. Plus, I got to pet her three Corgies. Wonderful evening and I am so proud of Eryn!”

Aww thanks M.J., it was a pleasure having you share such a wonderful moment with you!  All in all it was a perfect night for such a special celebration!

SPECIAL P.S.

September 12, 2012 the paperback version of Beneath the Wall has arrived!  The UPS man rang the bell and when I door the first thing I asked was “Is that package from Oregon?”

He read the label and said, “Yes, from Black Lyon Publishing.”

I screamed, he jumped and laughed explaining that it was my book!!

He left, I grabbed my keys and Cameron and I practically flew to my mom and dad’s house.  Seeing my name in actually book print is beyond amazing!! It’s right there with meeting my husband for the first time and giving birth to my son.

September 11, 2001: My Personal Story

This blog has two parts to it.  I wrote both entries into a journal on September 12, 2001. I’m not going to edit or correct it, as it might distract from the feelings I had at that moment.  Well, I actually never finished the second part but I did my best to keep the same feeling and finished it up today.

I wanted to share this with the public as it captured such a terrifying moment in history.  I remember taking a walk up to the local park just to gather my thoughts.  I had to write it down, had to make sense of all the flashes of events that were running through my mind.

I never made mention of this back then, as I only had the intention of stating my own personal experience but of course, I am extremely grateful and proud of all of those who gave their lives so selfishly to help the victims of these atrocious events.  May they forever be remembered as heroes!

September 12, 2001 by Eryn LaPlant, Tierrasanta, California

History has once again been made. But this time, like many others in the past, it is a demise that has left a mark on the hearts and minds of Americans near and far.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, a commercial airline jet crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center – one of the twins was mortally wounded. Mere minutes later another jet aimed for the second tower, creating an immense fiery chasm in the building identical to its brother’s.  Shortly after, hundreds of miles away, another American icon, the country’s symbol of power and protection – The Pentagon, in Washington, D.C., was hit by another airplane.  A piece of one side torn apart by a faceless killer.

Panic was firmly instilled in America.  The president secured, the government preparing for war, the country shut down to wait, watch and listen for whatever happened next.

It wasn’t too long after the first hits that yet another airplane was brought down.  This one crashed into the ground in a Pennsylvania field.  At first, no one knew the reason for this down plane except for the people on board.  Soon America found that the passengers were heroes who had come against the hijackers, diverting the plane from it’s target: the White House – The home and office of the highest ranking person our country has.

The inevitable final blow came as the once wondrous Twin Towers’ structure gave way, sending the mighty skyscrapers to the streets of New York City.  The famous Manhattan skyline was now a beauty of the past.  No longer do the majestic Towers stand. It was a day of mourning for the number one nation of power. It was a day that will go down in history.

The personal story:

In the early hours of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was awaken by the voice of my little sister, Aimee, on the answering machine saying, “Eryn umm this is Aimee, something bad happened- ”

I flew out of bed, grabbing the phone in a panic, thinking something happened to my precious ten year old sister.  I demanded to know what happened and where our mother was. Aimee immediately told me she was okay, but said that some bad guys blew up a building.  She was stumbling over her words trying to tell the story. My mom took the phone from her and explained that some hijackers flew a plane into the World Trade Center towers. In utter astonishment and disbelief I asked for more information like who did this and when did it happen!  Mom proceeded to tell me that not only were the Twin Towers hit but also one part of the Pentagon too, in the same fashion – a commercial airliner slamming into the building at full force. It was too much to take in, too much to believe, so quickly, I turned on the television news and saw that it was true.  I had to hang up the phone to digest the information and watch for myself.

The news replayed the sickening images of the planes flying into the buildings, over and over from different angles. Eye witnesses were interviewed. Panic could be heard from the surrounding crowds. Every channel had it playing.  Then as the news told of the FAA grounding all other flights, they mention that one plane has not responded. Soon they find out that it had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. It’s surmised that this one was heading to Washington D.C. too, but no answers are known  at this point.

Not long after I turned on the t.v. I watched the burning towers – those 110 story buildings come crashing down to the ground in a cloud of smoke and rubble.

I lived in San Diego, California at the time, just a handful of miles from Miramar Marine Corp Airstation base where soldiers are trained to fly F-16s. As I stayed glued to the news, one by one I heard the jets scramble into the air, most likely heading to the coast, protecting the western border of the country. It was a scary sound, knowing that they weren’t just doing maneuvers and practicing like I normally heard them, but this time were being called to duty. Yet at the same time, I felt protected knowing they were so close and ready to defend.

For the rest of the day, I tried to go about my normal routine. I had a job interview. I went to the grocery store. I came back home and was greeted by my upstairs neighbor’s giant flag hanging down his balcony wall. Numbly, found my camera and took this picture, forever cementing where I was when our country was forever changed. I never truly found the routine again. For the rest of the day I just wanted to sit in front of the t.v., hold my dogs, hold my boy friend (it was Jon, my now husband) and cry. I wanted to soak up every detail, hear every breaking story, talk to as many family members as possible.

After the eleventh it was impossible to watch the news anymore. They replayed and relived the moment of terror that gripped me so hard. I had become afraid and nervous any time something new broke into television programming. I didn’t want to see or hear it anymore, I was feeling it and that was enough. For the next few weeks the only thing I could tolerate watching were cartoons. I focused on funny and comical and those were the only things that brought me away from the every day feeling of fear and dread. I don’t think it was until the one year anniversary that I really started to feel like I could put away the anxiety and fear that this one day, September 11th, 2001 brought.

Today, September 11, 2012, I saw a man at my son’s school wearing a flag tie and it took a second to calculate what day it was, in order to understand why he showed an outward symbol of patriotism. I got a shiver up my spine I realized it was the eleventh and leaned down to Cameron, brushing his silky hair saying, “Do you know what today is?”

“No,” he says.

I smile, he was a tiny thought back when the terror happened, not even close to being alive. Still I say, “Remember last year when I told you about the bad men who crashed airplanes into the building in New York?”

“Oh yeah, I remember,” he says.

“Well, that day was today, but a bunch of years ago. It’s a special day to remember those people who fought for our country and gave their lives so that we don’t have to have these things happen to us again. Will you remember that for me?”

“Yeah, sure,” he says in his cute little way.

He will remember because I tell him. I will remember because I lived it. And together we will never forget.

Feeling History

Yesterday and today I spent time researching information for the newest book I’m writing.  This one is based during WWII and I, unfortunately, needed to read about the Nazis and their invasions into other countries. In doing so, I came across a chapter about one part of that war I always skipped: The Holocaust. Not because I don’t believe it happened or anything ridiculous like that, but because I cannot even fathom the amount of hatred and evil it takes to eliminate a whole race. What Hilter and the Nazis did to the Jews just disgusts me to the point that I’m overwhelmed with emotion that I want to cry from the core of my being for those people. It’s an anguish I know many went through and I feel for them, I do, but I go berserk thinking about the depths of agony they and their families went through and I have to put the stories down. I wish I could handle them, but I worry about my sanity, especially when I know there’s nothing I can do about it now.  May Hilter and those other involved in the extermination of the Jews forever burn in hell for what they did!

This isn’t the first time I have been so affected by history that my emotions went crazy. When I was little and visiting places like the Lexington and Concord battlefields, the National mall in Washington D.C., Ford’s Theater, heck even downtown Springfield, IL where Lincoln lived as a young man, always made me tingle with a surge of knowing what feelings were endured on those very places so long ago.  It wasn’t a psychic kind of thing, but more or less a link to history that my soul latched on to.  And it’s funny because when I got into college and chose History as my major, many people asked me why. I always told them, because history and I are just drawn to be together and I truly feel that is the truth.