Showing posts with label Multi-racial Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Multi-racial Romance. Show all posts

Saturday, May 7, 2016

That thing about race from an excerpt of Shuttered Vision

They had actually spent most of the drive quiet.  Commenting on music and scenery.  Nothing truly substantial just comforting small talk to pass the time.  He would make a catty remark about a movie billboard. She would berate the art.  It was rather amusing how comfortable, how quickly each got at their end of it.  They were seated at one of the back tables in the restaurant and poor Colan was confused.
“I always get front and center.”
Fiona was looking at her menu. “You’re always with people they want you to be seen with,” she said without really thinking about it.
“If you knew the company I kept you wouldn’t say that.” He argued gravely thinking about his rendezvous with his Columbian backers. “Not everyone I’m here with is white.”
Fiona dropped the menu and looked at him dead on. “I told you it’s not just about that; it’s about class.” She gave him an odd look. “How much is everything you’re wearing?”
He looked down at himself. “Maybe a grand most likely 2.”
“Just in clothes?”
“Just in clothes.”
“This whole outfit cost $20 at the local mall.  I got the dress on clearance for $10, the shoes were on sale for $3 and the purse I got at a 75% discount for 8 bucks.” She showed him her wrists and gestured towards her neck.  “I don’t wear jewelry.”
“You don’t wear makeup. Your hair is as it grows out of your head and not coiffed into oblivion,” he finished.
She tilted her head at him. “Aw honey, you finally noticed.”
He smiled at her despite himself. “It was one of the first things I noticed,” he admitted.
“I’m not one of you guys.  I don’t have the finance. And,” she emphasized. “I’m the wrong color.”
He winced. “I’m really starting to not like it when you refer to color.”
She shook her head at him. “Why does it piss you off?” she said in a way that completely said that he had no right to be pissed off about it.
He picked up his menu. “Because I’d punch someone that said that to me about you.” He paused a slight sharp smile dancing on his lips. “I don’t hit women.”
She stared at him sideways, literally tilting her head the other way. “I don’t understand you,” she said softly.
He looked up at her. “Then we have more in common than I thought.”
The waitress came over finally. “Mr. Abrams, how can I help you?” She said tensely.
Without looking at the girl he said swiftly. “Ask the lady what she would like.”
The girl next door brunette plastered on a fake smile and looked over at Fiona. “Ma’am, what can I get you?”
Fiona returned the smile dripping with every ounce of fakeness the girl had given her. “Well,” she started in her most country accent forcing Colan to slowly pan his head up at her. “Ah think Ah migh’ star’ with a Pabst Light.”
The girl’s face dropped. “I ..” she stammered. “I don’t think. . . we carry that brand of,” she gestured loosely. “Beer?”
“Well Damn,” Fiona stopped. “How bout some OE.”
Colan was biting his lower lip watching the display as the waitress looked at the woman helplessly. “I don’t think we have that either.” She supplied.
“What the ell kinda bar’s this, awright, awright.” In perfect English she requested. “Actually I’d like a vodka dry martini Grey Goose, very very dirty. Please lace the rim with lemon.”
The girl stared and then finding a solution quickly said, “Method actress; I totally get it.” She turned to Colan.
“The same.” He barely got out.
The girl nodded and quickly ran away. Colan followed by bursting out in immediate loud arborous laughter. After about 30 seconds of this he used the napkin to wipe his eyes and just kept muttering, “Well played, Ms. Canters, well played.”
A mischevious light danced in his eyes as he looked at her and started, “You know I have this role—“
“Forget about it mister.”
Colan smiled at the immediate setdown. “What made you . . .”
Fiona shrugged. “Terrible habit I developed years ago.  Can’t make myself stop.  As soon as someone starts treating me a certain way I like to give it to them, and then show them how I really am.” She shook her head smiling to herself. “Man has it gotten me into trouble over the years.”
“In Texas. I’m sure it has.”
She looked at him in an accusing fashion. “You know a lot about the South, and when you got pissed at me earlier your accent got going.”
“Oklahoma,” he supplied. “Born and raised.”
She nodded. “Makes sense.” Then smirkingly asked. “Why doesn’t Texas fall into the ocean?”
Colan rolled his eyes. “Here we go. Cause Oklahoma sucks.” He fixed her with a look. “Why is Oklahoma so windy?”
Fiona laughed. “Cause Texas sucks and Kansas blows.”
She looked around the room. People were either in various stages of disgust, wonder, or overt self-involvement. “How in the hell did you end up here?” she wondered openly.
“Foolishly,” he supplied. “But I’ve made it work for me?”
Fiona picked up her menu. “Well I think we should be ready when she comes back.”
“I’d rather you take your time.”
“Well Cody and I have a flight to catch—“
“I’d be highly offended if you didn’t let me treat you to at least one night in Hollywood.”
“Really, we haven’t booked a room—“
“There is room at my place.”
“But the plane tickets—“
“I’ll refund, have Mic book you a new flight when we get back.”
“I don’t think—“
“Would you refuse my hospitality?” he let his accent slip as he said it.
Fiona opened her mouth, and her southern breeding took over closing it instantly.  “No sir, I wouldn’t dream of it.  One night.”
“Unless more is required.” He hinted.
“One night.” Fiona insisted.
He smiled, “I’ll try not to push my luck.”
“Ready.” The waitress returned with a much more genuine smile on her face as she placed the martinis on the table.  Colan looked over at Fiona to see if she noticed.  She still had her head buried in her menu.  This probably happened all over the place, and she just never paid attention; still trapped in her sea of distain.

She still didn’t see it because she looked at him.  He said her name like a caress, like he cared for her.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Tripping the Light Fantastic an excerpt from Shuttered Vision

Fiona was running, the earth was moving fast beneath her feet. She was laughing and playing.  The sun was bright and florid. The air rich with the scent of poppies.  She stopped running and started twirling in circles, just like she had when she was little.  The man that stared down at her was her favorite man in the world. She stopped spinning and threw herself into his waiting arms.

“Fee-Fee.” He said like he always had softly, quickly and yet insistently giving it all the French inclinations it desired. “What are you doing here?” he asked in his odd Spanish, Texan, French accent.

“I wanted to see you.”

He gave her that chiding look that only an overindulging father gives his child. “Petite, you have other things to do besides obsess over me.  How is your mother?”

“She misses you.”

He shielded his dark eyes. “And I her.  We will meet again she and I.”


He gave her a firm look. “What have I told you about asking about the future?”

“Don’t do it.”

“You have something to do.” He stated as he gave her a final hug and then put her down.  He looked into the horizon of the grassy area that they were on.  It was like a still set almost.  Wind blew and there was grass and the smell of poppies but it was static, none moving giving cry to the illusion of the place.  With firm steps he walked to the edge of her vision and poked the sky.  It rippled from the spot.

“He’s eavesdropping.” He stated.

Fiona felt shock and surprise. “No one comes here but me, not even Momma. How--”

“He’s searching for you cherie. And he has found you.”

He moved now to stand behind Fiona, slowly he took her hand and moved it across the sky.  It felt like satin under her fingertips and like water the fabric of the sky parted and fell away to reveal her field and there was a tall blonde man standing in the middle of it.  Fiona turned to go back but it was too late, she was now in her field.

Instantly Fiona was enraged with the man. “What are you doing here and who in the hell are you?”

He stood there staring at her. “You can see me.” He said softly.

“Of course I can see you.”

He shrugged. “You were running and twirling, it looked like you were talking to someone but I didn’t see anyone else.”

Fiona felt herself take a deep breath. “What are you doing here?”

“Hiding.” He smiled back at her.

“Should I bother asking who you are?”

“I’m nobody darling.”

Fiona felt herself start to move towards him, but she didn’t walk.  It was almost as if he willed her to him and she merely floated over. She looked down and saw her field moving beneath her feet.  She tried a few times to stop the motion and was unsuccessful.

“What are you?” she asked in a ragged fashion.

“Just a man.” He said evenly.

“No way, no one does –“

“I know, no one controls this but you.”

She was right in front of him now. She was elevated so that she could look him in the eye.  His sea green eyes searched her face. “My those are amazing eyes you’re got.  With the right light, they’d film like a dream.  People would think they’re CGI’d.”

“I doubt I’m the filming type.”

“You’re right. You’re gorgeous but you’re built too much like a real woman for Hollywood.  It’s all about the illusion you see, trick the world into believing only filmable things should exist.  Very few men would even see your face with the rest of that displayed.”
Fiona felt herself blush.

“Beautiful lips.” And then he leaned into her.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Colan Abrams from an excerpt of Shuttered Vision

“Mr. Abrams.”

A pause.

“Mr. Abrams.”

Longer pause.

“Colan.”  From a different voice.

He jerked awake. “Yeah, yeah what is it.”

“I can’t even describe how rude what you’re doing is.”

Colan wiped his face and resettled himself in his chair. “It wasn’t intentional I had a rough night last night.  I apologize.”

The four people at the table stared at him.

“Please continue.” He gestured loosely at the man speaking.

“So here is where the film actually moves . . “

What movement Colan thought to himself.  Another horror film where people disembody each other in horrific ways.  There is no movement in a film about brutal death.  There is brutal death, a half to fully naked chick and oh yeah a glorified psychopath.  Alfred Hitchcock knew what horror was.  It was an element of the mind.  He understood that what the human mind could imagine was much more horrific and gruesome than what he could ever show on a screen.  Even with today’s technology he would only redefine darkness, horror, true terror.  He would create art.  Film making was an art.  True film making, movie making however was a tired racket.  He could always tell within the first 30 seconds of a pitch if he was talking to an artist or a hack.

The horror flick being pitched, “Until Dawn” was a movie, not a film.  The screenwriter had cobbled together the shock value factors of the last 4 years of highest grossing horror movies and was selling them like they were fresh stock. And because Colan was in the business he was in, he would have to underwrite it and start production as soon as the hack was ready.  Because he was not a film producer, he was a movie producer and never should the two actually met.

If he had known that a Bachelor’s from Berkeley and a Master’s from NYU would’ve gotten him here, he would’ve saved the money.  That way at least he’d be like Paul sitting next to him, none wiser about the difference between art and crap.

“You hear that Col, the ending, it’s totally unique.”

“No it was done in 1976.  It’s a variation on the original ending of Carrie, the one they didn’t have the funds to do during that time period, the one Stephen King actually wrote.” Colan corrected without really thinking about it.  He sat up straight.

“Bottom line, it’ll easily be the Halloween blockbuster the year its’ released.”  He paused as the pasty man’s excitement started to fill the room. His partner nodding in agreement.  It was always like this when he talked to these guys.  Had to be how music producers felt about most rap styles that had nothing to do with the original slam poetry and hip hop styles they so carelessly discarded yet have to thank for their future success.

“Any plans for sequels?” He asked carelessly.

The man grinned from ear to ear. “Well I was trying to produce a stand alone but if the studio would like a franchise I am more than willing to negotiate those terms.”

Colan stood. “Wonderful, you and Paul here can hack it out. I mean hash it out.”  He fixed Paul with a blank look. “In the current media market we can shoot for 3 total, with a possible 4th upon villain restructuring.  Get me 2 in the can in 28 months.”

Paul was taking notes and nodding.  Colan stared down at his pristine bottle platinum blond locks carefully and artfully moussed and gelled into hip spikes. Reflexively he ran his hand through his own shoulder length blonde mane trying to remember the last time he’d even washed it with shampoo and conditioned it.  Felt pretty rough to the touch.

“Done.” Paul confirmed and looked suspiciously up at him with his dark brown eyes.

Colan smiled at the look of suspicion.  He was always wondering what he was up to.  What angle he was playing.  Wouldn’t he be surprised the day he told him there never had been one. He turned and left the room. 

Couldn’t blame Paul.  That was the life.  Movies made a lot of money, they also spent a lot of money.  Those two factors together drew a certain kind of person.  A land shark.  But there were levels of shark and cannibalism was not only tolerated it was often encouraged.  To reach the level and status that Colan had reached required a lot of guilty memories.  Paul was just being careful because you never knew when one of those beasts was going to turn on you.

Colan would’ve had a guy like Paul for lunch eight years ago.  He had been without remorse when it came to getting to the top and being able to call the shots.  He had been a fool to believe that being at the top of this industry would do anything but change his priorities. People have this fantasy that once they get to the top of something, they can just instantly change the entire institution and structure.  They think they have a noble cause and noble goals. 

Colan had been no different. For most of his 36 years of life, films had sustained and carried him.  He would never forget his first drive thru experience.  His mother and father had taken them to see something he thought he really wanted to see until he turned around to look at another screen in the tri screen theatre.  There he watched, without sound, Superman. Shortly there after his father had left and he fell completely into the world of moving pictures as his mother had to leave him to fend for himself as she had to work more.  So he watched movies, every kind he could watch.

He was raised in a back water Oklahoma town called Chandler right outside of Oklahoma City.  When he had become high school age he had talked his mother into letting him go to the best high school in the state located in Norman Oklahoma near Oklahoma State University.  There he had started the process to get into the University of California Berkeley. From there he had gone to Tisch with New York University with a 4.0.

Colan had graduated full of zest, zeal and an appropriate amount of artistic angst and he had hit the independent film scene a blaze.  His first three movies had been shot down instantly.  The people he pitched to insisting that America didn’t want to think, they wanted blood guts and senseless violence. He had been unconvinced.  The public took what they could get. He was going to make films again. 
All of his professors had seen the idealist in him and knew what that meant.  One by one over the years they had warned him away from Hollywood.  Make films overseas first, he had been advised. But he had been a patriot.  He had only wanted to give his creations to American audiences first. 

With the choices being Disney and Hollywood, he had chosen the later.

So there he had gone.  Hollywood was everything he thought it would be and a slew of other things he hadn’t expected.  He had expected to be disgusted to be insulted as the art he loved was being canonized and mass produced without thought or originality.  What he hadn’t expected was to be lured in by the potential of ultimate power. To be held enwrapt by the bright lights the lifestyle, the parties, the drugs, the sex.  Some of those women he had met along the way had been willing to do anything.  Anything at all for a shot. It isn’t until it’s much too late do you realize what you had to become to get there.

But the most seductive lure of it had been the competition.  Being better, doing better hopefully in a way that shows everyone how bad someone else is at this job. Colan had started as a rigging grip. After 5 years of wheeling and dealing, flaunting his degree, his good looks, and southern charm, Colan Abrams from bumfuck Oklahoma and a broken home was the most sought after movie producer in Hollywood.  He had gotten to be an assistant of a producer within a year and half of being in the company.  Produced his first film within the next six months as the man he was working for cracked under the pressure.  Pressure Colan had eagerly and liberally applied. That year he had turned a summer blockbuster that would’ve fallen on its ass with the previous producer into a multi-billion dollar worldwide hit.

The rules are simple for success in Hollywood.  Money is the name of the game and the only resume item that’s respected. Rule one summer, you got lucky, rule two summers, you might just have what it takes.  Three summers followed by a killer Halloween and an amazing Christmas showing, baby you’re a star.

Colan was a country boy at the core of his being.  And like any boy not used to women that looked like Hollywood wanna be starlets did or men willing to prostitute like Hollywood wanna be leading men did, he had lost his way. He had been exposed to it during school, but it wasn’t the same.  In the end, the purity of the art always held him first and kept him focused.  But with the purity of the art gone, all that was left was this sickening people pulsing floor show.  When the lifestyle had started not to be enough he was a little worried.  When the drugs had started to not be enough, his worry escalated.  When the sex became practically another form of currency he had started having full blown panic attacks.

Two years ago Colan Abrams, multi billion dollar movie producer, film company executive, and all around Hollywood behind the scenes badass, had a nervous breakdown.  And his perception of the world had never been the same since.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Annniversary of Make Mine a Heel

I get nostalgic this time of year every year.  About this time 8 years ago I was inspired to do things I never dreamed and inspired to write a book I never thought possible.  I've been on a an educational research hiatus because I don't make a living on my writing yet and I do have a passionate love of education. However considering its Road to Wrestlemania season and being a Dallas TX native, I'm thrilled my city is finally getting the big one with Wreslemania 32. That being said I see no better time than now to get myself back into the game.

So 8 years ago I met a very interesting person who inspired me to want and achieve more.  Writing was always something that I admired and couldn't quite figure out how to get started.  I had a couple of failed attempts during that time but nothing I felt I could really shop.  Then I went to a Wrestlemania. . Wrestlemania 24 to be exact.  I went to see the retirement of Ric Flair a seasoned great that I have always admired. My childhood was filled with this man's work.  It only seemed right to see him off into that gorgeous sunset.  (I'm quite a fan of wrestling check out my other blog from years ago:

Now this wasn't my first WM,  My first was Wrestlemania 17 in Houston about 15 years ago.  See how these dates are adding up. I found my ticket stub for it not too long ago and smiled fondly at the memory and laughed at myself for not being able to actually watch but mostly listen to the infamous TLC 2 match that people still talk about to this day. Nonetheless I was indeed there.

But back to WM 24. So I was there and by chance met someone else. Totally by chance it was one of those divine fate moments because there was no way to know or even suspect who I would meet. (Long story I can't make short lol) To wrestling fans he's known as the 'Rated R" superstar and to others as Adam Copeland. . actor. Which if you know anything about professional wrestling you know that was not that far of a reach. Not to discount his work. He is a very talented man in many regards. I've watched him move on with his career outside of the ring with great pride and admiration for his courage.

The thing is meeting him gave me inspiration. It struck me that in all this time I've never read a romance novel with a professional wrestler as the male lead.  It struck me as an odd and egregious oversight because clearly this man should be someone's romantic fantasy. As well as many, many other performers. So I left inspired and about 2 years later around this time I found myself with a full blown romance novel 96,000 words and one of the best things I think I've written. 

I told a couple of stories in this book, Mostly it was about my heartache of my ending marriage. I was supposed to go to WM 24 with what is now my ex husband. But best laid plans. Instead I found a fleeting hope in my soul and a need to tell one of the many love stories I wish I had as my own. So therein is the muse the inspiration and even a beginning chapter shout out to the man that without doing a single thing made me think about love again when my life needed it the most. 

But I also talked about women and men in very basic terms. It is a story about perception and how that affects life. What we see isn't always what we think it is.  And sometimes its exactly what we need regardless of what we think is happening. I always hoped that this book would help women to see love in the many many ways it can present itself and how time and distance can never make true love wane. 

I usually put the book on sale for .99 right before Wrestlemanias as a tribute and as a reminder that no matter what you cannot ever give up on love. 

And sincerely, thank you Adam Copeland.  And in more traditional wrestling venacular, 

Thank you Edge, Thank you Edge Thank you Edge.

Always w/love,


Make Mine a Heel is available only in ebook form from most ebook vendors including Amazon and Barnes & Noble 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How to Survive Running Away With the Circus – The Conclusion

By Banner Hemweigh

When I researched fan sites, books, and magazines, I noticed that no one really talked about story and plot lines.  The focus was always on the people themselves. The fan base is curious to know these people, not the basics of the sport.

For a decent amount of the world, somehow these characters have transcended the ideas that have always made professional wrestling a joke among other professional athletes. Were I covering professional wrestling strictly for the athletic appeal it would hold very little paper, and very little ink.  But that is because I’m a sports writer, and the things I would focus on bear no weight in the competition that is actually being waged.

The feats that are conducted are very athletic.  The physical and muscle control of most of these performers is inspiring to behold.  So it isn’t the nature of the physicality of the sport that makes me say this.  It’s the nature of the degrees of success.  They aren’t rated by numerical terms.  Success is gauged by crowd control. We aren’t talking stats and numbers; this is about emotion.  This is not to say that most athletic competitions aren’t emotional.  They are, but you cannot break down the field of professional wrestling to cold hard brass tacks.  The true scope of this is not as cut and dry as a football game where there is an absolute winner, and an absolute loser.  What is being achieved is failure for some, and success for others; which if done well, is success for all. 

The storylines should be critiqued like television sitcoms.  The performance should be rated by those knowledgeable about delivery, timing, and the physical challenges of a ring performance.  The quality of show production should be gauged by members of like entertainment vehicles, and rated as such.

Should professional wrestling be covered like a sport?  No. However it should be covered as an alternative form of live theatrical entertainment that just happens to be a sport.  Which is exactly what it is.

I found myself comparing what I saw with the circus.  A very suitable analogy when you consider all of the parts that constitutes a circus; part drama, part skill, and always loads of artistry.  The biggest difference is public perception.  After all, no one questions whether or not the tight rope walker is actually on a tight rope.  No one asks if the trapeze artist is truly using a trapeze.  Wouldn’t it be nice if no one questioned whether or not that man just jumped off of a ladder?

Professional wrestling is a part of American culture, just like football.  The swarms of fans, the dedicated workers, and the billion dollar revenues don’t lie.  And while I am not qualified to cover it, there are people out there who are.  What I would like to see is someone covering it properly to garner the respect it deserves.  Because, in the words of my favorite professional wrestler 3D, “whether you like it or not, it’s the best thing going.”

From Make Mine a Heel by Suenammi Richards

"I liked this story. I'm not a big romance fan, but first this writer knows her stuff about football, Texas culture, and pro-wrestling. Second, the romance sucked me in. I wanted these two to get together because I genuinely liked them. This story is a Powerslam for any romance/sports fan!"
@alchemyofscrawl - Coral Russell

"I have to say I am a professional wrestling fan so this book really caught my interest as soon as I read the description. I very much enjoyed this book and definitely most likely will be reading it again at a late date."

"This isn't a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book."

-The Book Diva

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Survive Running Away With the Circus – The Performer

By Banner Hemweigh

Keith Daniels is one of the most respected men in his field these days.  He is always greeted when he arrives; his word in the ring rates as law, and no one second-guesses him.  There isn’t a performer that is trusted more whether in the ring, or out of it. He stands a stunning 6 feet 9 inches tall with the athletic versatility of a triathlete in a 280 pound frame.  He has a natural charisma that hums off of him, the diction of a scholar, and if that isn’t enough, he ain’t bad on the eyes.  He’s also the biggest, baddest heel professional wrestling has ever seen.

According to HWE statistics, on average roughly 30% of a live audience will actively jeer a character that is a successful heel, or ‘bad guy’ character.  In industry speak, it’s called heat, and it is the initial response of an audience that knows you’re coming out to see them. For a face, which is the standard ‘good’ guy, it’s called pop, and the pop ratio is relatively higher, roughly pushing towards the 60% mark. It is very hard to generate enough emotional distain to convince a crowd to waste the energy to boo you when it could be used cheering on their face.  These are factors that alter nightly, by locale.

On any given night, in any arena, anywhere in the world, Keith Daniels as 3D will generate heat that is closer to 50%. This average is said to only increase after he has been talking for 30 seconds or more, a ratio that insiders call ‘outrageous’.  Like all things there are exceptions, but with the truth of professional wrestling being broadcast, it’s harder to generate actual distain.  Everyone knows you’re acting.  So how does he do it?

Teddy Rogers recalls meeting a ‘skinny, scrawny 15 year old’ wanting to be trained to wrestle.  Now he refers to this same man as a gift to the industry. Teddy has an idea of what makes Keith Daniels the man that he is.

“Something in that boy that you don’t find everyday.  Is it will, spirit, drive.  Boy has more charisma in his pinky finger than most guys have in their entire bodies; more athletic ability than an Olympian, and I still can’t find anything to compare with the amount of heart he has.”

When asked when he knew he was ready for the ring, the champ is humble.

“Some days it’s when I got through my first televised match without a missed cue. Other days it’s when I finally convinced Teddy to start training me.  But most days, I’m still waiting.  It’s hard to determine ready for a field that is constantly in flux.” 

The man known as the selfish mouthy 3D comes off as unassuming.  The intelligence of the man is evident in his speech.  His respect for his peers and contemporaries pours out of him at every opportunity.  And his love for the fans is inspiring.

After the pay per view in his hometown of Dallas, TX, I conducted a final interview with Keith Daniels, and asked him to sum up what this profession has done for him.

“It’s provided more than just a paycheck.  It’s given me focus when I don’t have it.  Clarity when I can’t think clearly.  It’s shown me the levels of myself that I didn’t know I had.  I wasn’t always a good person, but I am a better one today, and I know it has a lot to do with what I choose to do for a living, and more importantly, how I choose to do it.”

From Make Mine a Heel by Suenammi Richards

"I liked this story. I'm not a big romance fan, but first this writer knows her stuff about football, Texas culture, and pro-wrestling. Second, the romance sucked me in. I wanted these two to get together because I genuinely liked them. This story is a Powerslam for any romance/sports fan!"
@alchemyofscrawl - Coral Russell

"I have to say I am a professional wrestling fan so this book really caught my interest as soon as I read the description. I very much enjoyed this book and definitely most likely will be reading it again at a late date."

"This isn't a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How to Survive Running Away With the Circus – The Payoff

So why do this for a living?  A profession that endears criticism, seems to have lackluster benefits, and a more than challenging pace?  For love of performing was the number one answer. And the ability to make your own way best stated by Teddy Rogers.

“Does this sport show a boy what he’s made of?  Yes.  Does it grind up boys that aren’t made of enough up?  Yes.  Does it reward those who are tough enough?  Every time.  Not many things in this life have that kind of return anymore.”

The opinion is that for those that see it out, there is no other way to live.  What I found was a culture of respect, trust, and value that is sometimes lost in other professions, but is a necessary element in this one. Over and over again I was told stories about the tragedies of life, and what hole was filled by this business from individuals who may have found themselves in much more tragic circumstances had this not been an open option for them.

Sheryl Cassidy shares a very similar view of the profession with ring legend Teddy Rogers, and views the business as having an open door policy.

“This place is for freaks and outcasts, the common man, and the uncommon one.  The parts of society that the upper crust likes to pretend don’t exist.  Here the American dream still lives.  Anybody, from any walk of life, any background, any ethnicity, any creed can come, and if they are willing to work hard they can achieve whatever they want.  The world is open here, and we turn no one away unless they prove they are unwilling to work hard”

From Make Mine a Heel by Suenammi Richards

"I liked this story. I'm not a big romance fan, but first this writer knows her stuff about football, Texas culture, and pro-wrestling. Second, the romance sucked me in. I wanted these two to get together because I genuinely liked them. This story is a Powerslam for any romance/sports fan!"
@alchemyofscrawl - Coral Russell

"I have to say I am a professional wrestling fan so this book really caught my interest as soon as I read the description. I very much enjoyed this book and definitely most likely will be reading it again at a late date."

"This isn't a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to Survive Running Away With the Circus – The Price

By Banner Hemweigh

Employees to the HWE are contracted much like any other sport.  These contracts are negotiated prior to performing, and are quite binding. Almost all contracts given by the HWE leave most of the expense of the profession with the athlete.  All travel is arranged, and paid for by the performer.  Only a select few get the company treatment where all is arranged for them.  The performers are considered freelance agents.  Without being recognized by artist guilds or athletic unions, this business is left in the hands of the provider of work, and is without specific regulations.

According to HWE Head Project Manager and On Site Liaison Sheryl Cassidy the level of commitment needed to successfully perform the job and compensation are not equitable to the performer.

“Roughly you make maybe $500,000 a year, mid-carder money.  The bigger stars can go past the million dollar mark if they play their cards right.  So you pay for all travel, hotel, transportation, and just what’s needed for a life on the road.   You take pay cuts if you get injured, pay cuts if you don’t get booked for a pay per view, pay cuts if your merchandise doesn’t sell.  Also the HWE offers no benefits. No retirement, healthcare, or even the basic standards for working in other industries such as disability, accidental death and dismemberment options.  Which in this business, should be a part of the contract.  These are things you have to acquire on your own.  When you factor in hours actually worked, hours spent going to work, and all else in between with fan events and charities it’s considerably more than a standard full time job that only requires a 40-hour workweek. I hate to say it but my family runs what is actually a modern day high paying sweatshop.  Employees spend most of their money and time paying to work.”

The ideas expressed by Sheryl Cassidy come in light of her own personal crisis as she finds herself the daughter of the company, but the girlfriend of a performer.  This insight has crossed the barriers that had normally been in place for decades, and it’s forced the second daughter of HWE owner Thomas Cassidy to take another look at what her family has helped cultivate.

There can be a case made that most entertainment careers carry the same type of policies.  Actors on stage and screen, professional musicians, professional dancers lead very similar lives.  But according to Sheryl Cassidy, with the amount of money being generated the compensation should either be more or benefits should be given for all, and not just case by case.

“Professional dance is a great example.  The larger more successful companies give contracts that take care of everything from living arrangements to paid leave.  Because their bodies are their livelihood they have to treat it that way.  When a dancer gets injured they don’t lose money because they were contracted for a specific period of time, not for how many shows they do, or don’t do.  As the top draws they’ve earned the respect of their peers, and expect the company to take care of them.  Unions have been created to see to the special needs of professional artists and athletes.  It’s long past due for professional wrestling.”

Unlike other contracted sports and performing arts companies, professional wrestling is not seasonal.  Within the HWE organization, usually the only time that a performer receives a break is through an injury. No HWE performer gets paid while injured even though most injuries are received on the job.  With contracts that average 3 or more years of a nearly none stop work load it cannot be compared with even Hollywood movie contracts that pay millions for under a year’s worth of work.  

From Make Mine a Heel by Suenammi Richards

"I liked this story. I'm not a big romance fan, but first this writer knows her stuff about football, Texas culture, and pro-wrestling. Second, the romance sucked me in. I wanted these two to get together because I genuinely liked them. This story is a Powerslam for any romance/sports fan!"
@alchemyofscrawl - Coral Russell

"I have to say I am a professional wrestling fan so this book really caught my interest as soon as I read the description. I very much enjoyed this book and definitely most likely will be reading it again at a late date."

"This isn't a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to Survive Running Away With the Circus – The Job

By Banner Hemweigh

In laymen’s terms, the job is hard.  Annually the HWE produces 12 three hour-long high impact Pay Per Views.  Once a week they stage a mid to high impact two hour long televised showing.  When there is not a pay per view within the week they host at least 3, but never more than 6, two to three hour long low to mid impact non televised ‘House shows’ for limited live audiences.  Since the HWE is international, the schedule also includes exclusive high volume showings in other countries besides America. The shows have professional guild writers, medical staff on hand, hair and makeup crews, top notch pyrotechnics and prop guys, film editing savants able to do it on the fly with only a few hours lead in, and more runners than you can shake a stick at. It is in essence a traveling stage show. All of these components are necessary to set the stage for the main attraction, the performers.

As I learned quickly, the main focus is entertainment through athleticism.  The impact of the job itself bears heavy weight.  The level of stunt work that is done, while safe in increments, can lead to long-term health complications. Without proper conditioning, training, and a trusted medical professional, some of the more unfortunate performers can sustain lifelong disabilities like any other athletic endeavor.

The best of the best combine a signature style of ring performance with basic improvisational and script based acting. As with all things, some are better at it than others.  According to retired legendary ring technician and current HWE trainer Teddy ’Wildman’ Rogers, professional wrestling is a tribute to what came before.

“You’ll be hard pressed to find any live TV anymore.  Even the news is tapped ahead of time. In the ring is a mix of acting, athleticism, and passion.  For the Ancient Greeks theatre was over the top everything.  Costumes, staging, props, sights, sounds, and antics.”

Were the Ancient Greeks watching they would most likely recognize the flair for the flamboyant that most of the performers embody.  An average match is anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes of almost constant motion. This requires focusing on timing, story, and technique all at once. A few of the performers are able to pull off an ironman match.  An ironman match lasts from anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour.  The conditioning for such a feat is most likely found only in Broadway performers, professional dancers, and opera singers.  Very few sports professions leave men out on the field of play for longer than 30 minutes. The men who can and do are superstars of their field, much like professional wrestling.

Then there are the gimmick matches which have gained popularity over the years.  The HWE has put on matches that have involved everything from axes to zambonis.  These matches are usually referred to by the extra prop that will be used, or simply as a ‘hardcore’ match up.  During these matches stunts are higher impact.  The risk of injury is higher, but so is the entertainment level. Some performers have established themselves by signature performances in one of these memorable standout matches.

No one becomes a top tier performer by having just a great look, being great just in matches, or just on a mic.  The idea is to be good to great at all.  In order to be successful the performer has to be able to do it all, have a viable image, a great persona, and nearly flawless ring technique.  

From Make Mine a Heel by Suenammi Richards

"I liked this story. I'm not a big romance fan, but first this writer knows her stuff about football, Texas culture, and pro-wrestling. Second, the romance sucked me in. I wanted these two to get together because I genuinely liked them. This story is a Powerslam for any romance/sports fan!"
@alchemyofscrawl - Coral Russell

"I have to say I am a professional wrestling fan so this book really caught my interest as soon as I read the description. I very much enjoyed this book and definitely most likely will be reading it again at a late date."

"This isn't a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

How to Survive Running Away with the Circus – Opening Act

By Banner Hemweigh

Recently my editor called me into his office with a proposal. Go check out professional wrestling, and tell me what you see. I was naturally appalled and offended. I’m a football girl; there was no way I’m going to enjoy what I see. But with an open mind, open attitude, and a gracious tour guide, I was able to navigate the traveling circus that is professional wrestling, and come out with the bare bone facts about this pseudo sport.

Here are the facts. The Hypokritis Wrestling Exposition is the biggest professional wrestling promotion in the world, and boasts a billion dollar budget. Through merchandising, pay per view sales, and live events on an international scale, they have managed to leave behind the bargain basement approach that was once the staple of professional wrestling. This is high velocity, high gloss, high impact entertainment creating a different kind of celebrity as is demonstrated by the many websites, magazines, and diverse fan base it holds.

With that in mind, I begin to feel out the rest. My first issue is the one that everyone tends to focus on. It’s fake. Yes and no. The outcomes are predetermined, but the hazards are quite real. I believe its best explained by the current HWE heavyweight champion, Dominique ‘Dangerous’ Dutton, also known as 3D by wrestling fans. 3D is the stage name of Keith Daniels, a man who has lived his life in this business making the best of what he finds. Upon expressing my views about the validity of the action in the sport he calmly says, “You can’t trick gravity.” Point taken.

With that main deterrent gone, I can now get into the mechanics of this activity, which is in fact a sport. I know; I was surprised to discover this as well. But my able tour guide, Keith Daniels, who is an art enthusiast, ex-stunt driver, and 9 credits shy of a Bachelors of Art in History, was very specific about the definition of the word sport. And it applies to this sport completely.

What I found was a lot of talented individuals with a dedication to one thing and one thing alone, a great show. The basis of the sport is a show; an athletic competition that is meant to appeal on more than one level. Like any show, the truth of the affair is behind the scenes. There are stories of triumph and tragedy, chaos and discord, constant lobbying for space and screen time. Pushing for better stories, better angles, and always, better merchandise. It’s like Hollywood on steroids, in some cases literally, and without the security of a standardized union job.

Over the next 5 days I will be detailing my journey with the biggest traveling circus the world has ever seen. Through the eyes of a vaunted legend, the reigning champ, and the inheriting daughter of an empire, I’ll pull back the curtain, and reveal the magician for all to see.

From Make Mine a Heel by Suenammi Richards
Barnes & Noble

"I liked this story. I'm not a big romance fan, but first this writer knows her stuff about football, Texas culture, and pro-wrestling. Second, the romance sucked me in. I wanted these two to get together because I genuinely liked them. This story is a Powerslam for any romance/sports fan!"
@alchemyofscrawl - Coral Russell

"I have to say I am a professional wrestling fan so this book really caught my interest as soon as I read the description. I very much enjoyed this book and definitely most likely will be reading it again at a late date."

-Geeky Girl Reviews

"This isn't a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book."

-The Book Diva

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rewrite and Write Some More

As I'm trying to complete book 3 of the W.A.R.M. Front series I must reread the previous two because of how time intertwined the first three are.  I'll be able to loosen the load some when I tell Rachel's story and we'll get to catch up with all of our happy couples by the time Debbie settles down a few years from the original 2005 date of the first book Sandra's Social.

Our girl Sandy, the one who started this whole mess in the first place.

The only thing harder than trying to tie together the timeline instances that make these three books rebound off of each other is fighting the nearly nihilistic desire to edit the previous two.  Which just means at some point in time I will convince myself to rewrite and re-release this series.

As writers we learn so much about ourselves through our characters.  They built a base for us that has nothing to do with who we see ourselves as in real life.  Then they take on new life and tell you who they are. Its hard to describe that process to someone who doesn't write but I remembered this all too well as I reread this scene that sprang from me practically fully formed as my characters demanded a little fun time give in take in the middle of their intense personality clashes.

Here is one of my favorite excerpts from Sandra's Social:

“You’re drunk lady.” 
His blue eyes looked into hers openly.  She couldn’t place when it had started, but he wasn’t trying to shield his emotions from her anymore.  Instead he lay exposed to her, breathing harder from laughter, eyes glowing with mischief, and an almost catlike curious intensity.  This is what he was like as child she thought suddenly.  This is the person his grandparents had nurtured and created.
Sandra dropped the now useless controller, and her face shifted into a crooked grin that she knew brought out the shallow dimple she had above her left cheek.  The change in him was immediate.  Instantly he reached up, and lightly touched the spot with his finger.  Sitting up onto his elbows he let his lips brush hers for a moment, and then he took her mouth with that super experienced way he had of kissing her.  Sandra felt her head spin, and knew that she was drunk, but not that drunk.  She had never had a man kiss her like this.  The other times with him had been excellent, no doubt about that.  But this one was . . . . different. It was softer and sweeter.  It held more tenderness, and even more affection.  This extraordinary man kissed her like he liked her.  The times before had been curious and expert making them rather tentative in comparison of this intimate exploration. 
The kiss ruled her mouth as he kissed her mouth like she was his.  Languidly his tongue dipped into her, and laved hers.  His mouth tasted her, drunk her in, and then it got hungrier.  The warmth of his palm was against her face. Soft sable brown locks of hair were speared through her fingertips as she cradled his head.  She could feel his ears between her thumb and index fingers.  Without thinking she brushed her fingers over his lobes.  He stopped kissing her instantly, and just stared into her eyes intently.  It lasted for an eternity it seemed because she saw everything in those eyes.  They had darkened to that shade of blue that resembled the sky at midnight.
Sandra mumbled, “Don’t tell me I tickled them.”
That was met with the most genuine smile she had ever been blessed with.
“No, not exactly.” His head fell back onto her lap. “Tell me your name.”
She instantly sobered. “Why?”
Beautiful eyes slid shut.  Somehow she had broken his comfort with the question as he hid himself again she realized.  He only looked away from people when he didn’t want them to be able to read what he couldn’t keep from being in them.  The man was too honest by half.
Swallowing hard he let them slide open slowly revealing that marvelous shade of blue that seemed to contain the secrets of the universe. “I need to know you’re real.”
“Then touch me and see.”
“I told you that ---”
“And I’ll tell you next week.”
In disbelief he stared up at her, and she saw his better judgment warring with what he wanted.
“I’m going to hold you to that.”
With slow deliberation he leaned up, and kissed her again, and it seemed like the oven inside her had been turned on.  The son of a bitch had been holding out on her she believed.  There was nothing in any of the kisses that he had given her before that indicated that this would be the response her body would have to him.  Sandra knew that things were happening inside her very quickly, and she was actually starting to become afraid from the influx of feeling he had placed in this kiss.  And even more afraid of the feelings his kiss sent coursing through her. The warmest curl of desire began to hum in her belly as her breasts tightened, the nipples puckering.  Her legs were rapidly becoming useless.  Even her hair felt hot.  Now he was pushing her to the floor beneath him.  He fit himself between her legs, and braced himself on his elbows as he kissed her at his leisure.
Between biting kisses he started, “You have the best lips, soft, full.” He nipped her. “Kissable. That first night they are what I remember.”
He continued to kiss her, long, soft, sweet, and steadily the aggression built.  Sandra dug her fingers into his hair, and gently tugged when the kiss became too much, and he would ever so slightly reign it in until she had settled enough for him to start again.  But too soon she was lost again in a swirling mass of excitement, desire, fear, and helplessness.
“Tell me what you’re feeling.” The whispered request caused an answering shiver inside her as he began to nibble on her neck.
Sandra thought about the hot demand, and realized that she didn’t like the answer. She felt out of control, and lost in a sea of unknown waters. She had never felt this way with any man. The absolute truth of that settled on her like being dumped in the snow with nothing but her underwear on. And that was a terrible feeling.  She knew because of a rotten practical joke played on her by her cousins one Christmas in New York as they had visited some of her American based Greek family. The true problem was that she knew she couldn’t honor his request as she stiffened beneath him.  Feeling her sudden stiffness he responded by lifting his head, and looking at her questioningly.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“Yes, no,” she stammered. “I’m not used to . . . I don’t . . .”
“Don’t be shy woman, spit it out,” he grated.
 “I’m not a talker,” Sandra blurted trying to reel her hammering heart and libido back in before they got her into serious trouble.
With a raised brow he shrugged. “Okay, then don’t talk.”
“It’s just that if you prefer a talker,” she hesitated. “I just wouldn’t want to disappoint.  I don’t talk. I don’t scream. I usually make very little noise during.”
The insufferable man smirked at her. “My condolences.”
Sandra pushed onto his chest, and he reluctantly sat up.
“Maybe we ought to discuss what we are expecting here?” She was willing to say anything to get his hands off of her so she could think straight again. She was trying to ignore points from Erikson’s theory on Intimacy versus Isolation ringing through her head. I’m not choosing isolation, she raged internally.
All interest with having sex with her left as he stared at her as if she had gone daft.
“Honestly I just expected sex,” frustrated he muttered beneath his breath.
Sandra nodded as she started to scoot away from him. That scent of his was driving her crazy. So were his wet lips, his pounding heart, and the look in his eyes. “Yeah, but what if we aren’t really compatible.  Our likes could totally not suit.”
“There’s only one way to find that out.”
“I just wouldn’t want to waste any time if it appeared—”
Apparently done with her, the man quickly hopped up from the floor. “I’m making myself a drink.”
Sandra made a face to herself, and took a deep breath.  Thank God he had started talking when he did.  She had been well on her way to chucking her project, her principals, whatever else was left, to sleep with him.  Worse yet was the lingering thought that it wouldn’t have been a bad idea.  She took deep breaths to try and slow her heart rate, and to gain some form of composure before he came back. Unfortunately, now he was pissed; she could see it.  She knew from previous experience that he was a real prick when he got mad. God she had been oblivious to all else except for his lips, and that wonderful body pressed to hers.  Right now the body in question was reclined on the chaise staring at the ceiling. 
Sandra looked over at him, and saw his long legs stretched out before him. The black slacks he was wearing were unbuttoned, and she could see his hairline taper from his navel to disappear there.  Appalled she realized that she was salivating when her eyes fixed on his hip, and she could see the line made by the ending of his abdominal muscles, and the beginning of his hipbone.  Letting her eyes drift upward to his muscled and sparsely haired chest, she tried to get control of her raging hormones.  Sandra felt her eyes shift over the long perfectly shaped slabs that were his pectorals.  Enviously she watched the sheen of sweat that gilded his broad and thick shoulders. Thickly muscled arms rested as his left loosely dangled his drink above the floor.  What she wouldn’t give to be the type of woman that would go over, climb on top of him, and lick him from head to toe.  Sensing her silent perusal he turned to look at her, and she saw the perplexed expression on his face.
The gorgeous creature lifted the sifter to his lips, and casually took a drink.
“I’ll have you know, Madame, that engaging in sexual discourse with someone you are very attracted too is never a waste of time.”  He sipped again. “Unless of course you aren’t very attracted to the person you are engaging with.” He frowned. “Am I not engaging?”
Sandra actually laughed out loud.  It was cute really.  His offbeat way of asking if he was attractive caught her completely off guard.  The alcohol had to be talking; he would never voice such a thing were he more aware.  She was in his house; the man had mirrors.
Smiling still she replied, “You ever think that maybe you’re too engaging, and it throws a woman for a loop.”
Not believing a word of it he practically hissed, “Whatever, you can’t be that close to doing . . . it, and just back off unless you don’t want to do . . . . it with the person you’re doing . . . . it with.”
Maybe tonight she was that woman Sandra thought as she found herself straddling his hips and looking into those oh so blue eyes.  With a sly playful look, she took his drink from him, sipped on it herself, and quickly found herself coughing and gasping for air as he patted her back hard.
“Irish whiskey, goes down harsh,” he said deadpan.
Feeling sexy as hell with her eyes watering, her breathing scattered, and her voice sounding like jaded sandpaper, she got out, “I got a little freaked out cause I didn’t think I’d measure up to you.”
With the delicacy of a ram he huffed at her, and took his drink back sipping it with much more success than she had accomplished. He looked at her as his forehead creased thoughtfully, “You really don’t know how beautiful you are.”
Sandra tilted her head at him and smiled sheepishly. “I’m starting to understand how beautiful you think I am.”
“This couldn’t possibly be happening too fast for you?”
Sandra nodded knowing that it was the truth. She wasn’t ready for what happened to her when she was in his arms.  It was too intense and left her much too open and raw to him.  She had accomplished so much in her life, these feelings she had for him confused her because she didn’t know what they were besides very strong.  Strong enough to sweep her away it seemed.
Sipping his whiskey, cool, dark blue eyes regarded her silently.  The emotion behind them intense, but under control.
“What should we do?”
Her mind yelled ‘Run Away’, but she actually managed to shrug casually and suggest, “A break?”
Refusing immediately he shook his head. “You don’t convince yourself to have less of a good thing.”
Sandra conceded that point in her head, and then said, “Who says this is a good thing.”
He let his eyes roam over her, where she was, and he stated rather sharply, “It is apparent that we get on quite well.”
Sandra blushed from what he implied, and then inspiration started taking root inside of her making her hold up her finger. “But who’s to say that the novelty of this unusual arrangement of ours wears off leaving us avoiding each other on the streets.”
“It’s been going on for months now, and if so, so be it.” To emphasize he sat up bringing his face inches from hers. “I’m not a quitter Madame, in any regard.”
Seeing the challenge in his eyes Sandra gave him another sly look.  She leaned against him, and started to whisper in his ear just so she could feel him, making sure her response wasn’t imagined.
“A wager perhaps.”
Intrigued now he leaned back instantly bracing an arm behind himself. “What kind of a wager?  I happen to know that you are a sadist.”
Mocking his slightly British tone exactly, “I beg to differ sir; I believe you have me at a loss.  I am no more a sadist than you are a masochist.”
An arched brow was his response, which caused her to chuckle at the aristocratic nature of the gesture.  Her laughter caused him to respond with his own letting her know that the gesture had been intentional, and for her response.
“I spent a lot of time with my grandfather, and my grandmother does visit the Ancestral home quite a bit which causes me to be there a lot.  Forgive me if my accent slips from time to time.”
“Nothing to forgive, I like the sound of it.  Most people who live in Texas eventually sound like Texans.  Myself included.  It’s nice to hear something different.”
Nodding graciously he asked pointedly, “And that wager?”
She placed her hands onto his shoulders, and pushed him flat again. She leaned over him until she could fold her arms on his chest, and rest her chin on them.
“You’re not gonna believe it.”
Enjoying the way her mind worked, he smiled slowly, and offered her his drink.  She accepted it, and took a cautious sip learning from her previous mistake.
Smooth and deep his words set her senses to trembling as he breathed, “Try me,” over the skin of her fingertips.

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