Home for Christmas

When my literary agent said that my writing had a “poetic, almost lyrical rhythm” to it, I began to wonder what that meant. I didn’t know my father and his family during my childhood, but I’d heard that my paternal grandmother had written poetry and my paternal grandfather and family were all musicians.

So I began writing poems, and my first song release, Everybody Lies, started out as a poem. During the last 50 days of the last 7 months living in temporary housing as our new house was being built, I wrote poems every night. I’ll be sorting through them to see if any have song potential.

We’re still unpacking but once I get a bit settled, I’ll be making plans for 2018 and where I go with my art next year. I’m working on an album, which I’d love to finish next year, and I’m working on a novel, too.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is the perfect song for me this year and this house is gift enough, although I wouldn’t mind getting a new set of speakers for my studio. 🙂

I wish you all a happy holiday season and a fabulous new year!

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The Promised Land (#poem)

Tiny little towns lie in the Valley paved with gold
Pickup trucks and cowboy boots lined with filth
Rickety shacks and outdoor houses she didn’t have to choose
Coats catching fire, coffee burns or so I’ve been told

Two families from the same place take different paths to the Promised Land
One chose north, the other chose south, but it didn’t really matter
Picking fruit or Hollywoodland, mine chose the latter
I ended up with the one that was fake, but I played in the sand and got a nice tan

Too young to understand what true love is, it’s not for me to say
It’s not what I would have wanted for her, but others wouldn’t have changed a thing
It’s their version of the Promised Land of sun and Golden grain
Muscle beach, curly hair, eyes of blue, and a quick roll in the hay

They hold on tight to the lie he didn’t give her a ring
Those are the same who like to say I have no legitimate claim
This is about my life, I say, this is not some twisted game
Close to my heart for so very long, it’s my God-given dream

Cover and Blurb

I’m working with the publisher artist on the book cover and a variety of blurbs for marketing my soon-to-be-released novel The Tom Jones Club. In the meantime, here’s a peek into the back blurb:

International wine director Lucky Stryker, the “Lucky Lady,” is lucky in the boardroom, but unlucky in love. But the last thing she expects is to land in the arms of a cowboy one hot night in Vegas during the Tom Jones Club convention. A hot week with a cowboy in Las Vegas is one thing—eternity is another. 

Fearing that any woman will leave him the way his mother left his father, Eric Blake chooses women who are guaranteed to fulfill that prophecy. And Lucky Stryker is no exception. 

When Lady Luck throws the red hot dice, Lucky and Eric cash in on a red hot sizzling romance. But when their pasts catch up to them, and neither is who they appear to be, they are forced to answer this question, “Can their hearts keep the promises their bodies have been making?” 

As you can see, The Tom Jones Club convention in Las Vegas provides the backdrop and the catalyst for a romance between Lucky and Eric. But what you may not know is there really is a Tom Jones Club – more about that in my Pop Culture Divas post, also posted here.

Tips for Father/Daughter Reunions

Many have written to me asking for advice for meeting your father or daughter for the first time. I’ve taken my previous articles and combined them into one article, Tips for a Father/Daughter Reunion.

Tip One: Use a third party to locate the missing family member

It’s not always easy to locate a missing father or daughter by yourself. If all else fails you can hire a private detective, but then you may want to do the actual contact yourself. A private detective may be off-putting for a father or a daughter. However, one option is to locate another family member who may make that initial contact for you by forwarding an email or letter. Be sure to include your contact information in it.

Tip Two: Write a letter as your first means of contact

While there is the possibility of making first contact by using the telephone, expressing your feelings in writing allows you to make sure you’ve said everything you meant to say in the way you meant to say it. Receiving a letter from you also allows the other person time to think over what you’ve said and to process it before responding.

Tip Three: Fathers: Show interest and ask questions

A phone call can get everything off to a wrong start if, out of nervousness, you find yourself rambling on about yourself or your other kids. Not asking about her and listening to you talk about your other kids is the last thing the daughter wants the first time she hears from you—or even the second or third—especially not at the first meeting. In a child’s mind, she may think of you as “my dad.” While some part of her realizes you could have other children, she needs some time to bond with you on a one-on-one basis. Be her dad for awhile—there’s time to introduce the rest of the family later.

Tip Four: Daughters: Be prepared for his side of the story

They say that there is her side of the story, his side of the story, and somewhere in the middle is the truth. Expect that there will be another side of the story and be willing to listen to it. React calmly and try to understand the situation.

Tip Five: Show patience and understanding

The biggest reason that fathers aren’t more open to contacting their adult children is spelled F-e-a-r. Fathers are afraid that they will be blamed for not being there, they will be accused of abandoning the child and they are afraid of being attacked. Fathers also worry about the people in their present life: their wife, their kids, their grandkids, their neighbors, the people at church.

But like any new relationship, with love, understanding, and patience, this relationship can grow into something more. It takes time, the right circumstances and the willingness on everyone’s part. It doesn’t always turn into the father/daughter relationship you’ve always hoped for but sometimes it helps to be grateful for what you do get. And what you do get may surprise you, and make taking that risk of rejection well worth it.

 

Tips for Meeting Your Daughter for the First Time

After writing and publishing the story of how I found and met my father in Myths of the Fatherless, I began writing articles and blog posts about it in order to reach out to others. After publishing an article, “Tips for Meeting Your Father for the First Time” I was contacted by a dad who was going to meet his daughter for the first time and he asked me if I had any tips for that. So after thinking about what worked and what didn’t work for me, as a daughter, I began to write down these tips and shared them with him.

In discussing some of this dad’s particular circumstances, though, I came to realize that first and foremost you should do what feels right for you. And while mulling over what that might be, here are some things to consider:

  1. Use a third party to locate the missing family member

It’s not always easy to locate a missing father or daughter by yourself. If all else fails you can hire a private detective to do this for you. But then you may want to do the actual contact yourself. A private detective may be off-putting for a father or a daughter. However, one option is to locate another family member who may make that initial contact for you by forwarding an email or letter. Be sure to include your contact information in it.

  1. Write a letter as your first means of contact

While there is the possibility of making first contact by using the telephone, expressing your feelings in writing allows you to make sure you’ve said everything you meant to say in the way you meant to say it. Receiving a letter from you also allows the daughter time to think over what you’ve said and to process it before responding. Communicating through writing at first can help ease an otherwise emotional situation. This is the time to tell her something about yourself and to tell her you’re interested in knowing about her.

  1. Show interest in your daughter and ask questions

A phone call can get everything off to a wrong start if, out of nervousness, you find yourself rambling on about yourself or your other kids. Not asking about her and listening to you talk about your other kids is the last thing the daughter wants the first time she hears from you—or even the second or third—especially not at the first meeting. In a child’s mind, she may only think of you as “my dad.” While some part of her realizes you could have other children, she needs some time to bond with you on a one-on-one basis. Be her dad for awhile—there’s time to introduce the rest of the family later.

  1. Share your feelings openly and honestly

The question in your daughter’s mind—whether spoken or unspoken—is, “Why weren’t you there for me?” Giving an open, honest explanation is important as well as not being defensive about whose fault it is. You need to take responsibility for your part and to be sensitive to your daughter’s feelings—not in defending yourself. What she wants to know is that you love her and that you’re sorry you missed out on knowing her.

  1. Persevere in love

Hopefully, these tips will help get you started on beginning a long lasting loving father/daughter relationship. But don’t be surprised or give up should you encounter some bumps along the way. It’s an emotional situation and you may run into obstacles along the way. You may also encounter roadblocks set up by those invested in this relationship not taking place. My father and I had a few issues to overcome, but by setting loving intentions, we were able to work through them all and now have a loving father/daughter relationship. It took a few years, a lot of tears, and prayers, but it was all worth it.