Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Our Beloved Red is FREE July 12th and July 13th!!!

Hello everybody,

Sorry it's been so long since I last touched base on here. Things have been going really well this summer. My book sales have been doing really well. 

As a member of Amazon's KDP Select team, I am allotted 5 FREE days for my book. With that being said, my book, "Our Beloved Red: A Son's Memoir On The Loss Of His Mother" will be FREE tomorrow, July 12th, and Friday, July 13th!!! 

Also, I wanted to include the intro of my book in here as well. I hope everyone's summer has been going great! The link to my book is at the bottom. 

The Day That Changed Everything

“Ryan! Mom’s been in an accident down at the light!” My dad was in a panic and yelling as he opened the back door to our house. “It looks really bad.”
My heart skipped two beats and a weird tingling sensation went down my spine as I looked at the horror on my dad’s face. I have never seen this look on his face before. As I tried to digest what he’d said, he was panicking, running around the house and then he picked up the phone.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe. “What?” I gasped.
“Mom is laying in your car down at the intersection. There’s people all over the place. It’s a damn nightmare.”
I took about two seconds, collected these thoughts. Is this a dream? I ran through the kitchen and bolted out the backdoor into the yard. Even though it was a cool night, I was sweating like crazy. I had to run down there as fast as possible. No. This can’t be happening.
It was about a hundred yards from our house to the intersection. I was an athlete—excelled at the quarterback position, was good at running away from two-hundred-and-fifty-pound lineman—but I had never ever run this fast in my life. Halfway there, my heart was pounding hard with every running stride.
As I made my way over the little hill, I saw flashing lights, a crowd of people and cars spread out like wild fire. Sirens blasted in the distance. Ambulances, firefighters and police officers engulfed the intersection. I still couldn’t believe this was happening.
I was now thirty feet away. My head felt dizzy and I was nauseous, my pulse raced and my heart palpitated wildly, looking at a whole world of chaos. As I approached the intersection, the look of terror I had seen on my dad’s face just a few minutes earlier had now transformed to mine, I am sure. My heart fluttered and skipped a few beats.
I looked and there it was—my shiny, green-metallic Bonneville was completely smashed—but that was the least of my worries.
There was an angel lying in the driver’s seat with her head down. Her beautiful red hair was the only thing I could see. The firefighters were using the Jaws of Life to open up my car so they could get to my mom.
I looked at the sky. My little perfect world was over in a flash. That day, everything changed.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”  Charles R. Swindoll

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Beloved Red is here!!!

Hello everyone, 

I am so happy to announce that my book, "OUR BELOVED Red: A Son's Memoir On The Loss Of His Mother" came out on May 9th last Thursday on Amazon Kindle. I can't believe the timing either. It happened to come out on the 10-year anniversary of the car accident. I know my mom was looking down on all of us, making sure it would come out on time. The paperback version came out Saturday via both createspace and amazon. 

Now it's time to report some of the big time numbers that my book achieved in the last few days. Honestly, I didn't even think I would see my book on a best seller list this soon. I knew it would happen, but I didn't think it would happen for a couple months at least. I woke up Friday morning (the morning after the release) to an email from one of my best friends. In the email, he wrote that my book was already on the Best Seller List at #12 for Death and Grief. I was shocked. It was one of the best feelings ever. Making a Best Seller List in my appropriate categories had been a goal for me from day 1. The kindle version reached as high as #5 and #6 in Death and Grief and Grief and Bereavement respectively. I woke up Sunday morning on Mother's Day and the paperback was #1 for Grief and Bereavement! Like the rest of the lists, this was out of the Top 100! I was so ecstatic with these results. Now the real work begins to maintain it. 

I wanted to give a shout out to the three ladies who really helped me make this book happen. My editor, Lisa Dawn Martinez, my cover artist Kim Vanmeter, and my formatter/designer, Judi Fennell. 

I found Lisa on the World Lit Cafe's list of possible editors to choose from. Something in my gut told me to contact Lisa and ultimately choose to her edit my MS. I couldn't have picked a better editor. She was very friendly and genuine during the process. She was able to maintain my author voice throughout the story. She a phenomenal job and she truly does have a gift. She worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality and I am thoroughly pleased with the finished product. 

I contacted Kim and proceeded to give her a photo and a vision. She was very detailed and prompt with her email response and asked for a couple more photos of my mom. The cover art on my book is absolutely amazing! Not only that, but the back cover is amazing as well! I couldn't have asked for a better cover. It was even better than I ever envisioned. 

Judi did a tremendous job working tirelessly with me to meet my deadline as well. She knew that I had a specific date in mind, and she worked hard to make it happen. She emailed me all the time with various questions and updates and it was obvious she sincerely cared about me meeting my deadlines. She was very patient with me and did an excellent job creating my estore for createspace and also doing the formatting for both createspace and the kindle. 

I plan on using all 3 for my next memoir coming out in a few months!!  Thanks to everybody who believed in me. I love you Mom. We did it! PDLK FOREVER!!!

Here are the links to my books.

        Kindle version                                

 Createspace version

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”  Charles R. Swindoll

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How writing this book changed me

Hello everyone,

While my editor finishes her professional edit, I want to share with everyone how writing this book changed me. My wife and I went to the dog beach yesterday and I was able to just lay on the beach and think for a little bit. 

I grew up in the best possible situation I could have. I grew up in a small town by the best parents a kid could ask for. They loved me unconditionally and took care of us to no end. Taryn, Damon, and I received the best attention and care a kid could dream of. We were supported wholeheartedly throughout our childhood and high school days. 

I always kept a positive attitude growing up. I was always very nice and cordial to people no matter what situation presented itself. 

Ten years ago to this month, everything in our lives changed forever. My mom was T-boned by a semi-truck shattering her life and many lives around her. Her death affected our community and obviously my family as well. When she passed away in that hospital, a lot of aspects of my life were affected. Some of the changes were positive and some of them were negative. 

The positive things included a whole variety of things. First and foremost, I realized just how fragile life can be. I set out to live life to the fullest no matter what. I changed my major to Psychology and proceeded to graduate college a couple years later in 2004. After I graduated, I got bored and was unhappy so I decided to take a chance and move to Florida. After all, you only live once. I wasn't going to live another day not doing what I wanted to do. Also, because of the tragic events that I went through, I had the power to affect other peoples' lives as well. It took me a while to realize this. Other people who have been in similar situations looked to me for guidance and support. 

Needless to say, the biggest negative was I wouldn't be able to see the number one person in my life again. Shortly after my mom passed away, I developed a chip on my shoulder. At times, I let my temper get the best of me. Over the years, there have been instances when I didn't treat people the way that I should have. I didn't act all crazy and get arrested or anything, but the nice guy that I had been my whole life was lost and had to be found again. I wasn't always the friendliest person in the world. 

Over the course of writing this book, I was able to re-live a lot of my upbringing. I thought about the good times and the bad. Re-hashing the ways that I was raised to be brought up reminded me of how I was supposed to treat people again. My mom and dad instilled great morals and values in us from day one. I just had to remember some of them. Writing this book simply made me realize that I have done some very important things in my life; especially since I moved down to Florida. While there were many ups and downs that transpired over the years, I was forced to remember what originally made me a caring person in the first place. As always, thanks for listening. 

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”  Charles R. Swindoll

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why I wrote this book

Hello everyone,

I wanted to share with everybody why I became a writer and why I decided to write this memoir on my mom. It all started when I was a little kid in good ole Jonesville, Michigan. At a whopping population of approximately 2,500 people, Jonesville is a little town in Hillsdale County close to the Ohio and Indiana borders. 

My parents were teachers (my mom would later become an elementary school counselor) and I was encouraged at a very early age to read and write. Sure, my parents would buy us the occasional video game or toy, but for the most part they bought me books for Christmas and birthdays. Whether it was Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Oliver Twist, or the Hardy Boys, I could be found somewhere in our house reading my next adventure. 

Growing up in Michigan, I played a ton of sports as well. However, for practically 3-4 months out of the year, it is too cold and snowy to play anything outside. When I wasn't in school, I was reading and writing little short stories of my very own. My parents stated that I was very creative and inquisitive from an early age. I was always asking questions about the world around me. My mom stated that I got bored with toys and video games so I would write and just make up stories for fun. 

In high school and college I loved to write as well, but I never took it that serious. I wrote poems, song lyrics, and lyrics for rap songs as well. I loved to write. I felt like it was something I was good at. I believe that people are smart in different ways. I couldn't fix a car. I couldn't solve a complex algebraic equation. I wasn't very good at chemistry and biology. However, I could write pretty well. And it was fun to let my imagination run wild. 

Right after I turned twenty-one years old, my mom passed away in a tragic car accident. She was the number one person in my life. She was an angel living on earth. She loved my family more than words  can describe. Also, as an elementary school counselor, she was able to impact kids in a very positive way. At Christmas time, she would go to Wal-Mart and buy toys and clothes for underpriviledged kids in the community. It's not like my parents were rich either. They were teachers so they didn't have a lot of extra money. She did it out of the kindness in her heart. 

This May will be the 10-year anniversary of my mother's death. As a celebration to her life, I decided to write a memoir about how she impacted us as a family. I started this memoir in July of 2011. It has been several months in the making. I am looking forward to publishing my memoir next month. I'm not sure on the exact date yet. It will be sometime in May though. Most likely, it will be released through Amazon in the middle of the month. I am really looking forward to this celebration. This book is dedicated to my mom. Anyone who has lost a loved one or been through anxiety and depression can relate to this book. As always, thanks for listening to me. 

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”  Charles R. Swindoll

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What kind of impact do you want to make?

Hello everyone,

My mother always thanked the kids for coming to our sporting events in high school. Her relationship with the students she counseled was always a very strong one. She modeled the way that a counselor and a teacher should act as a professional. Whether she saw the kids at school or out in the community, she would always take time out from her day to chat with them. She wouldn’t just make small talk. She genuinely cared about these kids and would stop and really ask them how they were doing. She would ask the kids how they were feeling.  

Unfortunately, a lot of the students that she dealt with didn’t have a good parent in their life. They didn’t really have anybody to look up to. Not only did they see my mom as their counselor; they saw her as a friend, mother, and a parent.  

She led by example on the proper way of treating people. She didn't care what ethnic background somebody was. She didn't care if they were poor or rich. She judged people on the way they treated others. I learned how to treat people with dignity and respect from her. I learned from her not to judge a book by its cover. 

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”  Charles R. Swindoll

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Carlos Rubio my father-in-law

Hello everyone,

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the death of my father-in-law Carlos Rubio. We celebrated his life by going to Clearwater Beach to swim and play in the sand with the little one. The following paragraphs describe the first time I met Carlos and how he impacted my wife and I. 

As we pulled in the driveway, Carlos was standing outside on the porch. He immediately smiled at me and shook my hand.  I thought, okay that was a relief. I didn’t get smacked or run off the property. So far so good. As we sat on the couch and engaged in a conversation, Carlos apologized because he said his English wasn’t very good. I begged to differ. I could understand his English fine. I told him I wished I was more fluent in Spanish. He said, "this is America, you shouldn’t have to learn spanish." Carlos was a very generous person.  He didn’t need to apologize to me for anything. However, he was such a caring person that he was always looking out for somebody else’s needs. 
 Carlos was a very instrumental person in Patricia’s life and I’m so very thankful for the way that he raised her. She is definitely a better person because of her father and the positive mindset that she exhibits on a daily basis has made me a better person as well. I am so proud of Patricia and she is a strong person because of her father and her mother as well.  
Carlos was a very well-rounded man and it was very evident from all the various conversations that I had with him over the last couple years. He loved to talk about movies, music, art, history, the world, and politics as we know it. For his birthday just this past February I bought him the movie 2012. He asked me what I thought about it and we discussed the movie. He then preceded to ask me if I believed the world would end in 2012. I told him no. He started smiling and laughing and he said I don’t believe in that crap either.  However, one thing that Carlos did believe in was loving your family and there is nothing more important than that. While I still have many goals in life that I want to achieve both personally and professionally, he reminded me that there is nothing than important than spending good quality time with your family.  
I will always cherish the moments I spent with Carlos. Although I’m very sad to see him leave this Earth, I’m also very happy he finally gets to meet my mom in heaven. Along with my mom, he will be re-united with his family and friends as well.  
Carlos I know you are looking down and I’ll promise I’ll help take care of Patricia and your family to the day that I die. In nomeni Patris et feli spiritus Sancti. Amén y Dios Bendice. 

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”  Charles R. Swindoll

Friday, March 30, 2012

Feelings of Sadness and Despair

Hello everyone,

In a death, unfortunately, there is no next time. Not in this lifetime. You have to live the rest of your life knowing that you will never see that person again. For me-at least for a long time-I was the boy that woke up every Christmas morning, only to find out  there was no Christmas. There were no presents and there certainly was no happiness and joy. This would happen for a long time. 

For many months, this feeling of emptiness consumed me-consumed my every thought and emotion. Every reminder of the tragedy accentuated my feelings of loneliness and despair. I would get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Unfortunately, this was just the start of it. Many things transpired after these initial feelings of sadness and despair.  

Even though I was going through my own problems and issues at the time, I still put a smile of my face. Smiling does not necessarily mean you’re happy. Sometimes it just means that you’re strong. I was very good at masking my sadness and depression. For the most part, I was very good at hiding my true feelings. When I did hang out with friends and family, I put on an act. I acted happy when I wasn’t. People thought I was happy when I simply felt distressed. 


“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”  Charles R. Swindoll