Falling Into Fire ~ A Sweet Love Story

“Falling Into Fire” is a sweet love story that was born out of a tragedy. This is the back story, as told to a friend in a letter.
•ʘ• •ʘ• •ʘ•
I met Nöel Stensbeck here in Minnesota. Her girlfriend’s name was Sofía Santiago. She’s 33 years old now, and originally from Texas. She’d met the love of her life there in 2006. Sofía was of Mexican and American Indian descent, and grew up in Albuquerque. Sofía was a year and a half younger than Nöel. They were both raised Roman Catholic. Sofía never had the courage to tell her parents that she was gay, knowing that they were extremely biased against homosexuality. Nöel’s parents knew she was gay, but were completely unsupportive although she really didn’t care that much. At least Nöel’s sister was okay with her. Anyway, Nöel didn’t let it ruin her life. They were sitting at home in their apartment in San Antonio where they were going through their respective Master’s programs at UTSA one Saturday afternoon and Sofía’s family showed up on their doorstep for a surprise visit. It was more of a surprise than they knew. They asked them in, of course, but they couldn’t very well conceal the fact they were together anymore since there were photographs all over the apartment of the two of them doing everything imaginable around town and out on vacations. Not to mention it was a one-bedroom apartment. They finally told them that we were lesbians and that they were in love and had been for quite some time. Shit hit the fan big time and all Sofía got was the lecture on how she was going to straight to hell and she was going to be excommunicated. They also didn’t like the fact that Nöel was Caucasian and involved with their daughter. The entire time they’d been together, Nöel and Sofía attended Mass regularly, staying very devout even though they disagreed on the Vatican’s stance on homosexuality, but had shown no outward signs to anybody from the Church. All their friends knew and Nöel’s family, but that was it. And of course, Nöel’s mother always thought it was a phase that would pass. That afternoon some pretty ugly things were said and things were thrown inside their apartment by Sofía’s father. He did a lot of damage to the inside of the apartment. Nöel was always very afraid for Sofía because she was unable to let go of the pressure of her family. The surprise visit came during May 2010, after they’d had been together for four years and living together for two. Exactly one week later to the day, Nöel came home to find that Sofía had succumbed to the pressure and taken her life. Nöel went through some serious depression. About a month later she voluntarily committed herself to a center for treatment for a month. She became functional again, but couldn’t stand another minute in Texas. So she took all the money she had, loaded her car with her clothes, their cat, and all the photos of her and Sofía, and left for Minnesota, since Minnesota is a very gay-friendly state. I actually met Nöel at the wedding of Rod, a man I worked with, and his partner Howard. To this day, Nöel struggles daily. Even after years of therapy, she can’t get into the swing of life. She’s actually dated a few women here, since there’s a large and openly supportive gay community here (not to mention support for them from the community in general), but she can’t ever make it past the second or third date because she can’t let go of Sofía. Nöel and I email periodically. She listens to me missing Becky and I listen to her about Sofía. One day, maybe, one of us will heal properly. For me, I would give up my own healing if it would give her my energy to heal her. Gladly I wrote this book in memory of Sofía, and had it printed and bound to give to Nöel for Christmas. I worked hard on it to get it done in time, but it was also therapeutic for me to keep my mind off my own woes and troubles. We met up after work on the 26th, and I gave her the printed and bound book. She broke down crying, holding the book to her chest, sort of rocking back and forth for about three hours. I was sitting on the couch with her with my arm around her, just watching TV. She finally fell asleep like that. I covered her up with a blanket laying her down flat on the couch, and grabbed another blanket and a pillow and slept in front of her couch there on the floor, just in case she needed anything. When I got ready to publish the book, I emailed her and asked her if I could. She said of course, it was mine. I explained to her that no, it was hers. I’d tried telling her that the night I gave her her copy. I wasn’t giving her just the paper document. I kept the copyright, but it basically was my present to her. In the cover, there is a dedication to her old girlfriend, which reads “In loving memory of Sofía Lupíta Elena Santiago de Vasquez, a victim of hate.” I also told her I wanted to keep the dedication in the book when I published it, which made her very happy.
•ʘ• •ʘ• •ʘ•

http://www.hollyanneweaver.com

Don’t forget to look into MI22ION! http://www.mission22.com

12335256 - bright flame in the form of heart and butterfly

Advertisements

“Falling Into Fire” ~ My New Book

My newest book is here!

Kathleen Pope is a St. Paul, Minnesota, firefighter who is just beginning to recover from having her heart ripped out by her ex-girlfriend.  Belladonna Ward is a newly graduated Master of Accounting and Finance from Houston who has fled her mother’s constant nagging about her life being easier if she would just hurry up and get through her “gay phase”.  The first ice storm of the year teaches Bella she has a lot to learn about walking across slick parking lots with sacks of groceries, but luck gives her a break when it’s Kathleen that’s standing in front of her when it happens.  Kathleen drives her to an emergency room where each starts having feelings for the other in the worst way.  More than just sparks, an entire electrical storm is brewing!

http://www.hollyanneweaver.com

Don’t forget to look into MI22ION! http://www.mission22.com

12335256 - bright flame in the form of heart and butterfly

 

 

 

“Normal”

◊◊ They practically kicked me out on the curb, and I asked them why they wouldn’t come in for a minute. Dad said it would be best if I ran inside and made sure she was decent. “Right, I didn’t even think about that.”

“Trust me, when you’ve been married to your woman for as many years as I have mine, you’ll know these things.” ◊◊

 

From “Coming of Age”.

There are certain things that are universal; they’re true the world over, not just in the little sphere that each of us calls home. This excerpt from “Coming of Age”, my latest release, exemplifies this. Whether you are ‘straight’ or ‘non-conforming to the gender normative’, you always check to see if your partner of whatever capacity is appropriately dressed, and I mean in their opinion, not yours, and give them at least a moment’s notice when you bring in visitors. Since Sophie and Pam are newly partnered this would especially be important, Even if it is the Sophie’s parents and they’ve all met and get along famously. However, as I have come to learn over the years, even if the couple had been together for quite some time, if it was a late hour, it would be a nice gesture to give your partner a little warning. It was a last second thought, but it would have even better to have phoned from her mobile phone somewhere during the drive over, giving Pam more time to straighten either herself or the apartment up if needed. It’s all up to the people in the relationship of course. I’ve got a list of the things like this I’ve compiled over the years. It’s not a long list but just the same, I’ll only mention a couple of them here.

  • Even jokingly, don’t put your partner down often. A little jab here or there might be funny, but repeatedly doing so can have a heavy toll that you’ll never know about. Just no!
  • No matter how long you’re together, never stop saying please and thank you. If this is the most important person in your life, why would you be less polite to that person than a stranger? This holds especially true if you have children. They learn by example.
  • Everybody has heard the adage about never going to bed mad. It’s good advice but hard to do. Go ahead and go to bed angry if you must, but at least do it civilly. Don’t be aggressive, don’t be on the attack, and don’t try and prove your point, but be able to say to each other, in spite of the madness, “You are the most important person in my life, and I love you.” Don’t give your partner the cold shoulder even if they are in your opinion being totally unreasonable in your disagreement. That solves nothing, but can easily create a chasm that can’t be bridged, simply because of a disagreement.
  • Physical and/or mental inability not-withstanding, even if you’re working all the hours on the planet, help out at least a tiny bit around the house. This one thing can be incredibly important and make your partner feel so much more important.
  • Even if your method, your driving direction, your favorite way to cook something, your favorite restaurant… Whatever. Even if you are correct, in the end, will it hurt anything? Will it maybe go a long way toward reinforcing your relationship, and help ensure that it will be stronger and last longer? Why not do some of these things occasionally?

That’s five from the top of my head. They’re not hard to do. Truly, they’re not. So how exactly does this tie in to my title, “Normal”, and what’s the point I’m making other than the shortlist of specific things to do to be kind to your partner? I eschew labels. As my greatest of friends Clau says, “F*** labels!” I know being a lesfic writer, this is preaching to the choir… But us gay folks? We’re ‘normal’. It may not feel like it in the current socio-political atmosphere in this country, but hang in there. It won’t last forever. In the meanwhile, don’t stop doing the things we’ve been doing to support the community and further our complete and full integration into society, and to get equal rights to everything, including careers, pay, health issues, etc. Just like the replacement to the Affordable Health Care Act, we don’t have to win: for now, let’s just keep our voices heard and not lose.

I bid you peace,

HollyAnne

“Coming of Age” and other books by HollyAnne weaver can be purchased by going to the links on the following page:
http://www.hollyanneweaver.com/index.html

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
800-273-8255 –
*Veterans Press 1*
– Veterans text 838255 –
Women Veterans’Hotline
855-829-6636
U.S. Military Veterans, please reach out for help!
If your local VA doesn’t give you the support you need, call the hotline, press 1, and ask for help! They will get you assistance and be your advocate!
If you still need assistance, *CONTACT ME* hollyanneweaver618@gmail.com!
I have several people who will advocate for you!

For information on MI22ION, please visit:  http://www.mission22.com/#ourcause

coming-of-age-ebook-cover-mi22ionS

Excuses!

My publisher sent me an email expressing concern about my near total absence of promotion. Yes, I know. But I’m going to. Tomorrow. I’ve been meaning to do exactly that, tomorrow. No excuses, but reasons you see.

I had some major health issues for a period of time. I took some time off. I needed it. Then my friend died. I gave myself time to grieve. After all, I was entitled. There were a few things that dominated my time with my nonprofits but that was only for a couple of weeks until I got the fires under control… although it stretched into several. Then there were… I could list many other things, but they’re just variables. In the beginning they might have had a purpose, or a meaning, but that’s long gone. Even as I write this, I struggle to find a position that I can find some degree of comfort, some measure of respite from the slicing pain in my leg.  But no more. If had been the first week, the second even, it might have been valid. Now?

The lyrics haunt me from the old Denver song:
Time as I’ve known it
Doesn’t take much time to pass by me
Minutes into days turn into months turn into years
They hurry by me

Suddenly I realize that Colleen died in October, my hospital stay ended in November, the new year came and went, I stepped down from the board in February, Charles died in March… Shit. It’s July.  F* July! And I get an email saying pull your head out of your ass, get your life together, and get with it. Or as my old First Sergeant said often, “Get your shit together in one bag and behind you!”

What? But I’ve been doing a lot.  Besides dealing with adversity, I’ve been…

STOP! Have you ever heard of the card game named “Bullshit”? Well, I’m calling Bullshit! On myself! Mind you I’ve never asked for sympathy, not even once.  I’ve just been… STOP!  Bullshit! Okay, I’m just sayi… STOP! Bullshit!

One is a goose, two is geese.  One is a deer, two is still deer. One is an alligator, two is a congregation. One is an ape, two is a troop.  One or two is a reason.  Three or four are excuses.  My list?  It’s called “BULLSHIT!”

And so now I endeavor to rewrite the schedule.  Rather than place a reminder in my head that I’ll accomplish this task or that task, I’ve already got them entered into my calendar, and will continue to do so.  Not only that, but instead of a reminder that pops up, I’ve got each one with a reminder the day before and one hour before as well. And not just major deadlines.  The daily bits and bobs are there as well.  Even the mundane things that thank goodness I’ve not eschewed, such as making sure I spend the minimum time actually writing each day.  And if I’m alive, even after a day of death, mayhem, and destruction, there will be at least a half hour of writing once my body hits the sheets. It’s not like I can fall asleep instantly anyway. That I take care of with a to-do list of check boxes.

So that’s my rant for today. I’m not saying that I won’t spread anymore bullshit. I’m a fiction writer and camp story teller for goodness sake! Just no more excuses.  And by the way, “Coming of Age” is out.  It was the first book I wrote, and the 4th to be published by Shadoe Publishing.

http://www.hollyanneweaver.com/index.html
https://amazon.com/author/hollyanneweaver

coming-of-age-ebook-cover-mi22ion

A Brief “Coming of Age” Excerpt

« “So I see ya brought me little girl home in one piece, Pam. Did she give ya much trouble?”
“Dad? I’m standing right here!”
“Well, she was delightful.  Well mannered, considerate, happy…” Pam replied.
“Yeah, that’s what has me puzzled.  I’d say the tour chippered her up, but she was already pretty well up there when ya left. I wonder why that is? I still think she may have herself a man.  She’s not sayin’ but I think I know love when I see it.”
“Dad! STOP IT! You’re embarrassing everybody!”
“No, he’s not embarrassing me. Is he embarrassing you?” Pam came back.
“No, actually, he’s not. It’s an embarrassing situation, but I’m not.” I’ve never held secrets from my parents. Ever. And I didn’t want to start now. I just wasn’t ready to tell them. I hadn’t rehearsed it a hundred and one times yet. I hadn’t chosen the perfect words yet. I hadn’t…
“It’s not a boy! I think you know, it’s Pam! Pam and I are in love. I don’t want a load of shite, I don’t want a lecture, and I don’t want to keep it a secret!”
“HA! Maggie, and ya owe me a pony!” yelled Dad.
“A pony? You bet Mum twenty-five pounds? You had a bet with Mum? How could you!” I was nearly screaming at them.
“Sure and I knew it when I tucked ya into bed. I could tell. That and we both watched ya downstairs on Thursday night. I don’t know why you took the bet, me Magpie! Have ya ever won a bet with me in all our long years?”
When I turned around to Pam to see how she was taking all this in, she was sitting in a chair next to Mum. She pulled me by the hand onto her lap and put her arms around me. “She’s right.  I love her. With all my heart. She’s so very special.”
“So, Dad, you’re alright? With us? With… Things? Y’know? And you, Mum?”
“And why wouldn’t we be darlin’?” piped Dad. “Just know this, man or woman, I’ll make ya the same promise, Pam. If you break her heart, I may have ta break your leg. It’s the house rule.  And since I own the house, I get to make the rules.” »

“Coming of Age” was released quite early this year. I must apologize for not being as vocal about this book as I have my other books. But I’ve been working through some medical issues, and I’ve had trouble concentrating on serious things for even a few minutes at time.  I’m finally turning the tables on things now, and am getting back into the swing of work. A giant thank you goes out to those of you who have purchased this new book!  I can’t express my appreciation and gratitude properly!

http://www.hollyanneweaver.com/index.html
https://amazon.com/author/hollyanneweaver

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
800-273-8255 –
*Veterans Press 1*
– Veterans text 838255 –
Women Veterans’Hotline
855-829-6636
U.S. Military Veterans, please reach out for help!
If your local VA doesn’t give you the support you need, call the hotline, press 1, and ask for help! They will get you assistance and be your advocate!
If you still need assistance, *CONTACT ME* hollyanneweaver618@gmail.com!
I have several people who will advocate for you!

Non veterans, please visit:  http://www.mission22.com/#ourcause
Find out what MI22ION is all about and why it is so very important. Hate the war; love the soldier, sailor, and airman!

coming-of-age-ebook-cover-mi22ion

A Taste of “Coming of Age”

◊◊ We made our way to the restaurant.  It was pretty sparse, even though it was still during summer holiday season.  It was drawing to the end of summer so the majority of the tourists had come and gone, but it was also a Wednesday night.  The sun was just touching behind the buildings as we chose one of the three tables on the walk outside.

We ate, we drank, we laughed, we smiled…  We rejoiced.  I was flying.  What a journey!  A few days ago I’d had the worst day of my life.  Today was the best day of my life.  But then the inevitable happened.

“I hate to break up this little shindig of ours, but I do have to go to work very early tomorrow,” Pam finally said.  “Give me your mobile.”

I gave her my phone, and she entered a number.  Then she saved it.  And another.  And another.  She then scrolled down through my saved numbers, showing me as she did so.  Pam – Home.  Pam – Mobile.  Pam – Work.

I smiled.  She reached out once again, put my hair behind my ears, and then took my hand. She squeezed my hand, holding it between both of hers, and then brought her hand to her cheek with mine between them.  She stood up, and walked away.  As she walked away, she smiled, and waved at me.  Then she dug into her bag and pulled out her phone.  When my phone rang, it showed Pam – Mobile.  I answered the phone and said, “Hallo?  Who is this?” laughing.

Cackling wildly, she answered, “This is your wicked girlfriend.  And you still owe me a shirt.”  And then she was gone into a crowd.  I was sad to see her go.  There was now something missing.  There was a hole where she had been that would remain empty until she returned.  But I was positively happy.  So very happy.  So very much in love. ◊◊

Sophie Duncan and Pam Browning are thrown into this fast-paced romance, one different than either has ever experienced! Come follow their adventures together through London as they learn about each other, how their families and friends react to their new partnership, and how it changes how they see life!

http://www.hollyanneweaver.com/index.html
https://amazon.com/author/hollyanneweaver

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
800-273-8255 –
*Veterans Press 1*
– Veterans text 838255

Women Veterans’Hotline
855-829-6636
U.S. Military Veterans, please reach out for help!
If your local VA doesn’t give you the support you need, call the hotline, press 1, and ask for help! They will get you assistance and be your advocate!
If you still need assistance, *CONTACT ME* hollyanneweaver618@gmail.com!
I have several people who will advocate for you!

Non veterans, please visit:  http://www.mission22.com/#ourcause
Find out what MI22ION is all about and why it is so very important. Hate the war; love the soldier, sailor, and airman!

 

coming-of-age-ebook-cover-mi22ion

New Release – Coming of Age

“Coming of Age” has been released!  It’s actually been out for a couple of weeks now, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to update all of the things behind the scenes necessary to properly do all of the ‘paperwork’.  All of the hardware has been repaired, all of the software has been reloaded, all of the data has been restored, so here I go!

“Coming of Age” was my first effort at writing a novel.  It was, in fact, an accidental adventure.  My great friend Minta Vold Arbuthnot and I were writing back and forth, and what started out as poetry somehow morphed into a short story.  The idea for it, like most of mine, simple appeared in my head, ready for use.  After writing the story, I decided I liked the concept of the plot, and began to expand the story.  It quickly grew from thirteen pages to twenty-five, to fifty-seven, to one hundred twenty-seven pages in a regular document.  It is set predominately in London, England, with English characters, and using British English.

For those of you who haven’t yet seen the synopsis, I’ll give it up once again:

– Sophie Duncan should have been at the perfect point in her life: graduated from university, young, full of energy, and with the desire to take on the world single-handedly. Yet nothing seemed to be happening. She’d even gone so far as to plan a little pity-party for herself at a local pub with a few of her mates, but had been stood up by every one of them. Just at the point her life should be beginning, it seemed instead as if it was crumbling away underneath her. Then stumbling, not from intoxication, but in a tear-filled state, she manages to drench Pam Browning, a complete and total stranger, wearing a white silk blouse with her drink, ruining it. Although she promises to replathe blouse, neither woman expects what’s about to unfold in both their lives…-

I hope you enjoy the book,

HollyAnne

http://www.hollyanneweaver.com/index.html
https://amazon.com/author/hollyanneweaver

coming-of-age-ebook-cover-mi22ion

Coming Soon: “Coming of Age”!

“Coming of Age” is coming soon!

Sophie Duncan should have been at the perfect point in her life: graduated from university, young, full of energy, and with the desire to take on the world single-handedly. Yet nothing seemed to be happening. She’d even gone so far as to plan a little pity-party for herself at a local pub with a few of her mates, but had been stood up by every one of them. Just at the point her life should be beginning, it seemed instead as if it was crumbling away underneath her. Then stumbling, not from intoxication, but in a tear-filled state, she manages to drench Pam Browning, a complete and total stranger, wearing a white silk blouse with her drink, ruining it. Although she promises to replace the blouse, neither woman expects what’s about to unfold in both their lives…

A Happy New Year to you all!

http://www.hollyanneweaver.wordpress.com
http://www.hollyanneweaver.com

coming-of-age-ebook-cover-wordpress

 

 

Non-biological Parenting

I was reminded this past week that parenting is about love, and nurturing, and caring, and understanding, and sacrifice.  I saw a situation where a parent was remarried, but they refused to let their mate participate in the decision making process with their kids, because “You’re not their father!”  I wanted to scream ‘foul!’ at them, but it wasn’t my place.  That was a major factor in the way the roles played out in my book, “After Sasha”.  It was important to me that a new mother-daughter relationship didn’t mean that it was any less important to either of the two characters because it wasn’t a biological role.  And in the telling of the story, there were plenty of opportunities to remind the reader, whereas they were friendly, they were still adult and child, not friends.  Make no mistake!

<< By the time the kitchen was cleaned up and our things from the weekend had been unpacked and put up, it was time for Lidi to go to bed. “Can I sit with Mommy Kárin for a few minutes first?” “For fifteen minutes, then you have to go to bed.  It’s already past bedtime.” Lidi scrambled up onto Kárin, sitting in her lap facing the television, and Kárin had her arms around Lidi. Kárin leaned down and whispered something to her.  Lidi nodded, turned her head around, and kissed Kárin. “Night-night, Mommy Kárin.  I’ll see you tomorrow.” Lidi came over to me and scrambled up onto the chair with me, giving me a kiss and a hug. “Night, Mommy.  See you in the morning,” she said as she hopped immediately back off and went into the bathroom to brush her teeth. “What did you say to her?” I asked Kárin. “I told her that I loved her, but it was time for bed.” “And slick as a whistle she just did what you asked her to do?” “I guess she understands that she is my daughter.  Do you think it’s too soon for me to act that way to her?  Does it bother you that we’re too close too fast?” “Are you kidding me?  You two are like ducklings on their first trip to the water.  You both just jumped in and started paddling.  I’m thrilled.” “You’re sure?” “Yes, sweetie, I’m sure.” “I don’t want you to think that I’m overstepping my boundaries.” I got up, walked over to Kárin, and sat down in her lap.  I put my arms around her neck and nuzzled her neck. >>

This and my other books can be found at http://hollyanneweaver.com.

after-sasha-22

Selling a Book

Every author thinks they have the making of a good book.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t publish it.  Of course, sometimes they’re wrong.  I’m sure every one of you has read (or tried to read and given up on) at least one book in their lives and wondered what color the sky was in that writer’s world.

But even with that, how do you get a reader to bite?  It starts with a title.  I’ll use my book, After Sasha, here, since that’s the book I’m trying to get you interested in reading.  Who is Sasha?  What happened to her that now is ‘after her’?  In a way, you’re actually meant to find out by reading the book, but the synopsis gives you the quick story, but I’ll not go into that here.   I’m not wanting to be a spoiler for those of you who haven’t yet read The Plaid Skirt, the predecessor to this book. Hopefully not only will I have gotten the reader interested with the synopsis, but also the first book of this *news flash* three book series!  Yes, there is a third book that has just been started!  The Plaid Skirt, After Sasha, and the third book which is in too early an infancy to give anything away quite yet.

But perhaps even more than that, when an author first gives notice of a book via a press release, publishers notice, website, or what have you, the most important thing is to catch your eye, to capture your brain, to draw you in; the image you see on the cover must literally be “eye-catching”.  And so I was particularly blessed to have the opportunity to work with graphic designer Marie Sterling on After Sasha.  Ms. Stirling did a brilliant job of keeping the theme of the original book, The Plaid Skirt, while breathing tremendous life into the second book of the series.  I’ve gotten great feedback on this second book, even from fellow authors that I respect so very much.  And as much as I have enjoyed the positive feedback,  I’ve taken equal pleasure in passing along the kudos to Ms. Stirling for her work on the cover.  I honestly feel that her contribution to the cover has contributed to my success with the sequel.  And for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude.

There are two other people that have also contributed equally to my success.  Deb Amia was my editor, not only for both of the books mentioned here, but for my first book, Leaving Afghanistan Behind, as well.  If not for her, my words would sound no where near as eloquent as at least I think they do.  And to my publisher, K’Anne Meinel:  as busy as she is with the constant delivery of her own incredible written library and the many writers at Shadoe Publishing, she still finds time to not only mentor me, but actually read through each of my books before going to press and give her suggestions as well.  A more rounded, dedicated publisher you’ll never find.  To both of you, my thanks.

Most of my marketing is done here, through public media, online, etc.  I don’t attend shows, I don’t go to book signings, I don’t do book readings.  You see I suffer from severe social anxiety disorder.  Prohibitively.  I don’t let that hold me back, though, I just do what I can.  My goal isn’t to be #1 on the Best Seller List for 30 weeks running!  My goal is to be the best author I can.  To keep writing.  To keep publishing.  My goal is to give everyone who reads my books an escape from their lives, for just a few hours, no matter what that life may be.  If I’ve done that, and you’ve enjoyed your time, then I’ve been successful.  But first, I’ve got to get your attention!

http://www.hollyanneweaver.com

Image01