Saturday, February 28, 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Once in a while, we make a decision that changes the direction of our lives forever. And sometimes, we rescind that decision in a mistaken belief that we made the wrong decision in the first place.
Four years after I finished my degree, I had the opportunity to attend a week long Welsh language course — an interest I had developed during my post-graduate trip to the British Isles. A month before the course began, I changed my mind because I’m not good at learning languages and, after all, it was a whim. I requested a refund. With some reluctance, Cymdeithas Madog agreed to return the small fee.
One morning, a week later, while I read the Sunday paper, I realized that I had probably shut the door on an experience I might find useful in the future. I intended to write about my visit to Wales, and a knowledge of the language was always a good thing.
I canceled my cancellation, knowing that my reputation with the Cymdeithas was now tainted.
The course began in the first week of August. My first indication that I had made the right decision to return my whimsical pursuit of learning Welsh when, on the opening introductory evening, my attention was drawn to one of the name cards of someone who had not yet arrived — one of the course tutors.
I returned to following morning to attend the first day of the course. That enchanted morning, across a crowded room, sat a man with a guitar. I stared at him. He glanced at me.
Thankfully, I was assigned to another tutor and that evening I had a chance to meet this Welsh-speaking guitarist on less shaky ground at an external, related event. I, the Big City girl, and he, the charming innocent from the market town in the county made famous by the Lord Rhys, gravitated to each other as though we knew from the minute we glimpsed one another we were meant to be together.
I learned much more Welsh in that week than the course could have promised. Though we were discreet, my follow learners and his fellow tutors knew we were crazy about one another. Parting at the end of the course was dreadful. He had to go on to visit friends in Maryland where he had attended the Conservatory of Music and I had to return to my job as graduate liaison officer at my former university. We made promises to write, certain never to meet again.
I wrote my first of many letters to him that night. Twenty-four long, dreary hours passed. On the third day of our separation, he phoned — as he promised he would. He was miserable in Maryland. I was thrilled he wanted to come back to spend another week in San Francisco.
Over burgers and milkshakes at Great America, he told me he wanted four children and I accepted his proposal. Crazy as it seems, we have now been soul mates and best friends, partners and parents of three (reality did kick in eventually!) for 32 years.
Monday, February 23, 2015
We met in a rather boring way. A blind date. Everyone had them. Some worked out. Most didn’t. I was starting my senior year of college and my blind date had just gotten out of Air Force technical training and was on his way to Bitburg, Germany, for three years. This was during the Vietnam era, and he was glad that’s where he was being sent.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
We joke that we raised each other, but it isn't really a joke. Though there were rough times, our bond was real and our commitment solid. One day a few years ago, I was at lunch with girlfriends, both of whom were speaking of "my second husband" or "my third marriage." I told them I had also had three marriages but only one husband; we keep renewing our contract as our lives change.
Maybe we've been lucky. Maybe we've been well tutored; Golden Weddings run in both our families. No, I wouldn't recommend young marriage, but for the right couples, they can be some of the sweetest of all.
Susan Aylworth is the author of 13 published novels and has part in three boxed sets, all 16 titles available now. Mother to seven, she is "gramma" to 23. She lives in northern California with Roger, her husband of 44 years, and the two spoiled cats they serve. She loves hearing from readers at www.susanaylworth.com, @SusanAylworth or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
|© Mamz | Dreamstime Stock Photos|
I've got to admit, that line has kept popping up in my head ever since our blog decided to go with a "Falling in Love" theme for the month of February. Mind you, I'm not complaining. Having Frank Sinatra singing in my head is reason enough for just about anything.
But while things quickly go awry for the person in the song, it seems to me that falling in love with love is what we romance writers do for a living. Again, no complaints! There's a real joy in dreaming up two characters who quickly take on a life of their own in my head, then gently steering them -- or, more often, poking and prodding them -- toward their happily-ever-after.
To quote another Sinatra song: "Nice work if you can get it."
I love being able to do this job, and I love creating that falling-in-love experience for readers. Because, of course, I'm a bit of a romance reader myself. It's a fun, guilt-free form of serial monogamy, falling for one hero after another.
And something I've noticed in this month's blog entries? Lots of stories from Classic & Cozy authors about the way they found the love of their life. A lot of those relationships have gone on for 20 or 30 years, or more.
I don't have any statistics to back me up, but it seems to me we're on to something. Dream of happily-ever-after ... watch others do so ... repeat ... live happily ever after?
Of course it isn't that easy.
But my un-scientific evidence suggests ... it's a great place to start.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
I was a five dollar bet. He was trying too hard.
The year I turned twenty-two, a friend of mine forgot my birthday. Because I was (and still am) a bit of a smarta**, I told him he could make it up to me by showing up at a local club that Friday night, buying me several drinks, and dancing the night away. This particular friend is not much of a dancer so I knew there was a very good chance he wouldn't show up. Bearing that in mind, I brought another friend, Margaret, to the club with me that Friday night.
Margaret was the dance fiend among friends. She hit the dance floor that night and never returned. Since I was the designated driver of the evening, I took a seat at the bar (another friend was the bartender--always helpful!) and ordered up a club soda. The first guy to approach me showed up with a posse of his friends backing him up. He proceeded to tell me his dad was a driving instructor and he could get me free lessons if I'd date him. (Wow! What a deal! What a catch!) Luckily, my bartender pal scared him and his posse away.
I was sipping my club soda, scanning the dance floor for Margaret, when a husky voice whispered in my ear, "You're not having a good time tonight, are you?"
I turned and came face-to-face with a pair of golden eyes that made my heart stutter. He offered to buy me a drink. I told him I was drinking club soda, which was free. He offered to buy me a free club soda. Okay, I thought, we've got great eyes and a sense of humor. Two checkmarks for him. I must have smiled, encouraging him. He pulled up the barstool next to mine and kept chatting. He told me he was a stockbroker and part-time ski instructor. He had a boat he'd love to take me out on. He routinely flew to Europe on business. The more he told me, the more I knew he was lying. And yet, as odd as it might seem, his lies charmed me. He was trying so hard to impress me, I felt flattered. Or maybe he had me hypnotized with those eyes.
We talked for hours. We danced. And at the end of the night, despite his insistence I leave with him, I gave him my phone number and went home with Margaret. She, of course, gushed about this guy who seemed so interested in me. "When you marry him," she said, "I better be invited to the wedding." I told her, "When I marry him, you get to be in the bridal party."
You can pretty much guess the rest. He called me. On our first date, he confessed he wasn't a stockbroker or a ski instructor. He didn't have a boat and had no plans to go to Europe. In fact, he'd only recently graduated college and was about to start his first "real job" a few weeks later. Why had he lied? Because I looked so perfect, so special, he thought he wasn't good enough. Yeah, I fell. Hard and fast. Lucky for me, so did he. We dated for two years and on the second anniversary of the day we met, we married.
Over time, he taught me to ski. He took me sailing. And we traveled to Europe. So maybe he was more prognosticator than prevaricator.
The five dollar bet? I found out about that after we were engaged. His friend, Mike, who was with him at the club the night we met, revealed all. "Didn't he tell you? He spotted you when you came in that night, said you were perfect for him, and bet me five bucks he'd leave the club with you."
He lost that bet.
But, in the end, we both won. Mike was the best man at our wedding; Margaret was a bridesmaid. It's been thirty+ years since that night in the club. His eyes still make my heart stutter. And every time he tells me, "I love you," I fall in love all over again.
Happy belated Valentine's Day!
Gina Ardito is the award-winning international author of more
than twenty romances, a legendary singer in confined spaces (her car, the
shower, her office cubicle), and a killer of houseplants. She
hosts fun, informative workshops for writers around the country. In 2012, Gina
was named a Woman of Outstanding Leadership by the International Women’s
Leadership Association, but to her friends, she’s still just a shenanigator. A
native of Long Island, New York, she lives with her husband, two children, a
bionic dog, and their two cat overlords. For more info on Gina and her books,
you can visit her website at ginaardito.com, follow Gina on Facebook
Saturday, February 14, 2015
|Our wedding in 1969|
I had a number of blind dates my freshman year in college and they were pretty uniformly disasters. I suffered through the guy who couldn’t manage to string two words together—ever—and the guy who wouldn’t shut up—ever—about the dog he’d left behind at home. There was the guy who turned everything, including the food at dinner, into a political cause. The one who drank too much. The one groping me almost before we’d exchanged names.
The only one I met who interested me apparently didn’t feel the same way. He never called back.
By the end of the year I’d sworn off blind dates.
But one month into my sophomore year, a friend of a friend of a friend needed a date and asked me if I’d go. She knew I didn’t have plans for the weekend. My first inclination was to say, no thanks, no way, not ever again. But I didn’t have a good excuse, really, and I was a bit bored, so I said yes.
Best call I ever made. He turned out to be really cute, really nice, and really compatible. We hit it off right away, found out we had a lot in common (we both read mysteries and science fiction!), and we talked and talked. And then there was the chemistry thing. Definitely there. I think I knew by the end of the first date we’d be getting married eventually.
A year and a half later we did. And as of last November, we’ve been married 45 years. It hasn’t all been roses. We’ve had our difficulties, arguments, and hard times. Sometimes we gritted our teeth and hung on by our fingernails. But we’d made a commitment to each other, and the love was still there beneath it all. That got us through.
It’s totally been worth it.
True story from our Wedding: I was standing in the back of the church with my Dad waiting for our cue to head up the aisle. A nicely dressed, middle-aged man rushed in at the last minute. My dad stepped toward him, extended his hand and said, “Hi, I’m John Gxxxxxx. The other man shook his hand and said, “Hi, I’m your brother, Jimmy.” They hadn’t seen each other in years and my wedding was the occasion for them re-connecting.
Friday, February 13, 2015
Victoria M. Johnson
I'm a die hard Beatles fan--so picking just one favorite love song is hard. But since my arm is being twisted here, "If I Fell" gets my vote as the most romantic. The words are so raw, of someone hurt and vulnerable, someone who truly wants to give love another try. The lyrics are heart wrenching actually. I would love to love you... I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
Copyright laws preculde me from publishing the lyrics here, but if you need are very curious about the song, you can hear the song and ready the lyrics here: http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/captain_and_tennille/muskrat_love.html
But consider yourself warned, it's a tough song to get out of your mind!