Hey Sunday Brunch lovers – Now that I’ve dined in the south, no Sunday brunch will ever be complete for me without grits! At the end I’ll link you to a little recipe for cheese grits courtesy of Alton Brown of the Food Network!
Here’s how my Sunday Brunch Blog works: I invite a couple of your favorite authors to my blog and ask them a question. Sometimes my questions are silly, sometimes they’re thought-provoking. My guests will share their answers with me and you, gentle readers, can give your answer to my question in the comment section below. I’ll choose one random person from the comments and reward them with an ebook surprise, it’s that simple!
Tell me what your answer would be in the comments, and you could win an e-book!
This weeks question isn’t really a question, but a topic:
Describe any misfortune that turned out to be a gift in disguise.
Well, except for fiction and usually romance fiction. When things were tough, a story could get me away from my bad mood or bad situation and I could enjoy myself. Writing, once I got back to it after a long hiatus, made me feel the same. Finally I stumbled into publishing, which is one of the most interesting jobs I’ve ever had.
But then my mother was diagnosed with dementia (not that I couldn’t figure it out for myself) and my son, who has developmental issues, hit puberty. They both lived in my home and they both demanded attention. I ran for my writing whenever I could but push came to shove. My day job, which paid the most, my publishing, my writing and my family were too much to handle.
I quit the day job. I told myself I was stupid and I resented having to do it. The publishing company was starting to make me a kind of living but nothing else I did paid as much as my day job. I felt very sorry for myself, very trapped, and very scared.
Quitting turned out to be a gift. Publishing took off for Loose Id that year. I kept enough sanity to do all the things I truly wanted or needed to do and I got through to a much better new phase. I learned to take joy in what is good and happens right now, rather than waiting for something better to come along. And, believe me, I appreciated Loose Id authors, my own writing, and my family. I’d like to think it helped my writing, too, since I love my characters to struggle for their happy endings…but I also know there can be a happy ending. Working for a HEA and getting it is why I loved romance so much from the start. Really believing it can happen is a true gift. — Author Treva Harte
Yeah. My family was rock bottom broke, and my husband—who was working and going to school in Sacramento while we lived in Ophir—got to use the one good car.
I was stuck at home with a ’74 Volvo that would periodically cease to function for no reason.
And I made the mistake of mentioning this to my father.
“Why don’t you just drive the damned thing? At least you’ll go somewhere until it stops!”
“Dad, I’ve got two kids in diapers—do I want them in the back of something that’s not going to run?”
And then… oh God. Does family know how to get under your skin or what? Cause my dad—who had hauled three kids cross country in a Volkswagen Bus with neither seatbelts, stationary seats, floorboards, or wholly functioning exhaust system—was convinced that anyone without that level of crazy was automatically a pussy of the first water.
“What happened to you? You used to be so much braver than you are now?”
But you know how it is with family. You hear the dare, you refuse the dare, and still, the words go ricocheting through your head like a psychotic ping-pong ball. You used to be so much braver…
I was going to have to take the damned car, wasn’t I?
Which is, of course, how I managed to get stalled behind the world’s seediest Chevron station, with, yes, you guessed it. Two kids. This was before cell phones, mind you, so the mechanics of getting hold of Mate and having him come and bail us out were painful and traumatic—and notice, by the way, that my father with the “You used to be so much braver than you are now!” was nowhere to be found on this day. Jerk.
Anyway, even worse than all of that was the fact that we had nothing to do with the car. See, normally we would have had the car towed—because that’s logical and all, but, see, you know AAA unlimited towing? That’s a lie. That’s a big fat lie, they cut you off after fifteen tows in three years. Yes, I know this from experience, why do you think I’m bitter?
And we didn’t have the money to have it towed. Hell, I had to scrape the floorboards of the damned Volvo to find money for milk to give the poor puzzled offspring as we sat in the heat and waited for a lift.
And if we could have afforded to have it fixed, well, I wouldn’t have been in that pickle in the first place, right?
So we left it.
Yup. Left it. And every so often we’d pass the gas station, and there it would be, layers of tickets for an abandoned vehicle accreting on the dusty windshield like archeological strata.
My father was completely disgusted. “You left it? A perfectly good vehicle like that?”
“Well, daddy, if it was a perfectly good vehicle it wouldn’t have died when I needed it would it?”
He didn’t have anything to say to that, really, and he dropped the subject.
Eventually they tore down the gas station, and impounded the car. We’d get periodic notices on how it was doing—“Oh, yay! It’s moved to the impound lot!” “Oh, isn’t that sweet—someone adopted it!” “Oh noes! It’s been abandoned on the side of the road. Who would do such a thing to such a splendid piece of shit?” “Oh, hey, look—it’s been impounded again. They say they’re going to sell it to cover the cost. Good luck with that, guys, we mean that sincerely.”
Until eventually I’m going to assume someone pushed it off a cliff or it ended up cannibalized in an Pick-n-pull, where someone else tried in vain to find a functioning transmission for a ’74 Volvo. (The car was on it’s fourth when we abandoned it—as I said, good luck with that—we mean it sincerely!)
Anyway, the death of the car, while high comedy (at least to Mate and I, who didn’t have too much to laugh at during that point in our lives) was also a learning moment for me.
Yeah, my dad can still get under my skin. Yeah, he can still piss me off. And yeah, I periodically have to weigh the things he’s taught me as a decent parent against the things he inadvertently taught me by negative example.
But he can no longer dare me.
Yeah, he tries. And sometimes, he still pisses me off. But I’ve learned to trust my own judgment on shit that he just does not have to live through. He wasn’t stuck in that seedy gas station with two screaming, confused toddlers, I was, and he didn’t have to take time off from work to rescue us. That was Mate. So that right there is my real gift. It’s hard to shake those patterns of obedience that family sets for us—and respect and sometimes obedience really can be positive qualities in a family.
But that right there was one of my cardinal lessons in how to judge a situation for myself, and although I’ve needed a lot of them since, that one was pretty damned iconic. But it helped me become the person who would write in this genre at a time when everyone assumed all I was writing was porn. Moments like this one were lessons that in spite of what your nearest and dearest tell you, only you have to live through the upshot of the actions, and if you can live with something that the rest of the world doesn’t understand, then maybe you’re doing the right thing after all.
So while it’s not safe to say I owe my writing career to the death of a ’74 Volvo, it is safe to say it taught me something I brought into my writing life.
And I’m lucky enough to be living with the consequences of following my own judgment this time—and they’re not bad! — Author Amy Lane
Hah! Summing my life up in a single sentence again, are you Zam? I honestly can’t of a single misfortune in my life that didn’t turn out to be a gift in disguise… not even the death of my mother. Eh, that may sound a bit like extreme Pollyannaism, but when I give you an example I think you’ll understand. I share often about how I came to write M/M romance, mostly because writing is such a huge part of my life now. Well misfortune is what led me here. I had left the army on a family hardship chapter—my daughter was ill and yes, another misfortune that turned out to be a blessing there—and gone to nursing school. I worked as a nurse for a couple of years, just long enough to *know* that I LOVED nursing, wanted to make a life-long career of it. Then I fell at home, reinjuring my spine. The original injury happened while I was in the Army. In less than a month, I was having trouble walking, hands and feet going numb, brain disconnected from the extremities as it were. Then came two spinal surgeries, and nearly two full years of being incapacitated.
Sounds tragic, huh?
But it wasn’t. I found m/m romance during that time, and the stories, especially yours, Zam, and Ethan Day’s, and… well, suffice to say there are a lot of m/m authors I hug every time I see them because they were instrumental in getting me through those tough times (yes, yes, I do mean you, Andrew Grey, Mary Calmes, and Amy Lane). So I loved the world of m/m romance. I couldn’t go back to my other love, nursing, not in a hands on manner, but—oh, and this is the exciting part—I could write. So I did. And I found a brand new career that I love even more than I loved nursing.
It’s paying me back in spades by being rewarding, fulfilling, and hopefully in the not too distant future, it will pay the bills as well. I’m currently up for a Rainbow Award—yes, Zam, I am still getting goose pimples to think that Changeless is up there in the finals with your works *dramatic shiver* because you are truly one of the authors whose level of craftsmanship I aspire to. I love writing love stories. I love writing funny stories. I LOVE knowing somewhere in the world someone’s day has been brightened by a story of mine. Good times indeed. — Author Cheri Noel
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