Skip to content
Latest

An Advocate for Decency

#GeoffreyOwens

Hopefully, you’ve had a great Labor Day weekend if you’re here in the United States! It seems apropos to talk about the value of hard work and the necessity of maintaining work ethics by talking about the obvious attempt to shame a man for actually working hard to earn a living for his family and himself. Apparently, some news outlets (which I will not name here, but they are posted within this article) actually ran an article that showed Geoffrey Owens, an actor who – practically a lifetime ago – was a minor recurring character on The Cosby Show. Apparently, he currently works as a cashier at a Trader Joe’s grocery store. The intention of the article was not to inform, but to publicly shame and humiliate a man who is simply making an honest living. 

I have a HUGE problem with this. My blog topics may be somewhat sporadic, but my ultimate goal is to focus on the basic necessities for nurturing the human spirit – happiness, love, and light. It’s a shame that I have to add DECENCY to this list of basics. What in the world would posses a person to take a photo of someone hard at work – and then distribute it to news media outlets? What kind of “news” outlet picks this story up, and gives such a negative spin to what is ultimately a wonderful example for young men and women EVERYWHERE?

There is NO shame in working to make an honest living. Period.

an-advocate-for-decency
Actor Geoffrey Owens

NEVER Be Ashamed of the Work You Do

Fortunately, once the story had gained enough traction, many actors and other celebrities were quick to jump on Twitter to defend Mr. Owens. They shared stories of their own struggles to make ends meet, and the fact that Geoffrey Owens is a working actor with a day job. Because of this – and only because of this outpouring of support and candidness from his peers, did the media’s negative narrative finally make a positive spin on this “story”.

For those of us who are in the Creative or Performing Arts, a vast majority of us understand exactly what it means to have (or need) a day job: It means that you are true to yourself and your craft by working in that field as much as you can afford, and you also work a “day job”, something that your heart is less committed to than your craft, in order to pay the bills.

The fact that the abhorrent person who took this man’s picture without his consent disturbs me to no end. I don’t wish to include my picture on social media because I believe in the right to privacy. My students and clients are not specifically invited to this little corner of my world. Will this always be the case? Of course not. As I devote more time to this job, circumstances will change to a point where a face needs to appear with a name. Until that point, however, I hope to have a choice as to what picture defines who “I” am. This man was robbed of his right to privacy, his right to anonymously do the honorable thing of pushing pride aside and working a non-glamourous job for a steady paycheck. Shame on that person who tried to dishonor a fellow human being.

How Glamorous is Your Life?

Seriously, I am so livid about this. This kind of “above/below your station” mentality is exactly the reason why I am so committed to the Arts. It’s also the reason why I earned my Ph.D. in an unrelated field. I love to cross paths and connect dots. It takes credibility in this world to convince others of what may seem obvious to you, and that was the path I was led to take. The only way that we can remind each other of the beauty and simplicity of EVERY DAY LIFE is if we are taught to see ourselves in the every day lives of others, regardless of race, gender, culture, self-identification, or creed. If only we can retain those lessons!

What glamorous life are you truly living? Doing our best to lead one of Grace and kindness is so much more appealing.

Sending Love, Light, and a sense of Decency to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Romantic Thoughts Thursday: When Reality is Better than Your Dreams

” You know you’re in love

when you can’t fall asleep because

reality is finally

better than your dreams.”

-Dr. Seuss

romantic-thoughts-thursday-reality-is-better-than-your-dreams

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

“I Want You to Have It All”

Have It All

If you’ve ever had a little human in your life, then you’ll understand the meaning of repetition. We are a very musical family, and my husband and I are thrilled beyond reason to see how musically inclined our little one already is. Because we want to expose those little ears to as many genres as possible, when a song comes up that we parents believe has multifaceted value, well, upon approval from our little boss, that song enters our daily rotation.

The current song of the day/week/ possibly month(s) is Have It All by Jason Mraz. Or, as my #Toddler calls it, the Happy Face Song (thanks to the single’s album cover). We happened to hear the song during our return road trip from the East Bay, and it’s really just a lovely, kind song that simply wishes you well. In this day and age, I found it to be a refreshing moment to turn on the radio, and actually hear a song on “mainstream radio” that only had good, wholesome things to say listeners of all ages.

No worries; I’m not on a soapbox or anything. Then again, maybe I am. I don’t know who the singer is, really. Maybe his name sounds familiar, but I can’t recall any previous singles, and I’m not going to take the time to research. (I’ve got deadlines, people.) And yes, when I first heard the song, I highly suspected that the singer would be wearing some kind of quirky hipster hat, and a ukulele would make an appearance in the video (AND I WAS RIGHT). Despite this, all I know is that I listened to the upbeat song, absorbed the lyrics, and thanked a stranger for wishing me  to have it all. Now, every morning, my little toddler demands the Happy Face Song during our family breakfast. On repeat. Thank you, Mr. Mraz! (No sarcasm intended.)I-want-you-to-have-it-all

If you haven’t heard the song, check out the video here. If you, like me, have no time or desire to slip down rabbit holes in YouTubelandia, just check out the awesome lyrics below.

What songs have been an inspiration to you? What songs are on rotation and make you want to smile, get up and dance, or hug someone? Definitely share them in the comments. I’d love to add them to our rotation!

May you have auspiciousness and causes of success
May you have the confidence to always do your best
May you take no effort in your being generous
Sharing what you can, nothing more nothing less
May you know the meaning of the word happiness
May you always lead from the beating in your chest
May you be treated like an esteemed guest
May you get to rest, may you catch your breath
And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow
Well here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it
Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all
May you be as fascinating as a slap bracelet
May you keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk
May you have unquestionable health and less stress
Having no possessions though immeasurable wealth
May you get a gold star on your next test
May your educated guesses always be correct
And may you win prizes shining like diamonds
May you really own it each moment to the next…
Songwriters: Becky Gebhardt / Mai Bloomfield / Mona Tavakoli / Chaska Potter / Jacob Kasher / David Hodges / Jason Mraz
Have It All lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Blogging Advice… ???

How Does Your Blog Measure Up?

As I continue to learn how to juggle blogging with writing, it amazes me how many bloggers are savvy in making sure that their posts get noticed. There’s so much about blogging that I can learn from them, and I’m doing my best to cram more information into this overloaded brain of mine. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can actually retain anything. So many blogs get tons of views, likes, and oh my gosh – even comments. They just rack up on some bogs, while others don’t even get the pitiful sound of crickets chirping. I mean, even if you only hear crickets, at least you know that you’re not completely alone in the blogosphere.

So far, I’ve learned one thing about blogging for sure:

There are Two Types of Bloggers

It seems as though there are two types of bloggers: Those who blog for views, likes, and comments, and those who blog to share original content. At first glance, you may think that a blogger could be one and the same. Actually, no – and I’ll tell you why.

Blogging for Hits

When a person blogs for traffic volume, that is their sole objective. Knowing how to tweek your tags, keywords, etc. will give you an advantage of having more people land on your posts and even interact with you. That’s SEO at its best. But you have to devise the proper “hooks”. Give unsolicited advice (ironically like this post), devising titles that tell you about the “Top 5” of anything, and sharing any sort of “Secret” are surefire indications that the post has been created to reel you in. Or help you. Or both.

Is there anything wrong with this? Not to me. As I mentioned, I’m reading these posts just  like anyone else, hoping to find the golden ticket to mastering a system that I am totally clueless about. These blogs are the ones that actually generate passive income, which is never shabby. Don’t we all want to get paid for the work that we do?

Some days, I worry about traffic. Am I really able to effectively reach my readers, whom I truly value and appreciate? Because I write about “Love and Life” (One Word at a Time), that covers an entire spectrum of topics. This means that it’s difficult for my blog to float above the others, because Google and other search engines don’t really know where to place me, because although I have great content (*ahem*), I’m all over the place.

Welcome to my life, Google.

Blogging to Share

Which brings me to the second type of blogger. These bloggers focus on creating content that satisfies them first. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t keeping their readership in mind, on the contrary; it just means that the blogger is more likely concerned about sharing content that may not be popular, or trending. On the one hand, this can mean great things for the blogger who is concentrating on one specific topic. This ensures that the blogger becomes an expert on one particular subject, and followers can be assured that the blogger knows what’s up.

Then you have bloggers like me. Well, that sentence is inaccurate. I’m a writer who blogs. There is a difference. And for that nuanced reason, I definitely fit into the latter category of bloggers. I share content that I care about, and although I primarily focus on writing, romance, blogging, family, and apparently quilting, I blog about what moves me – which is also exactly the way that I write fiction.

Over time, regardless of which kind of blogger you are, what followers value most is sincerity. We readers can fish out the ones who write from their hearts and those who are vying to get you to just buy their merch. While I want to connect with more of of the world, I’m thankful to connect with you now. As I learn and grow, I want to share with you the things that I’m learning. 😉

If you have any advice, or have an experience to share, let me know!

blogging-writing-women-authors
Google

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Romantic Thoughts Thursday: Never Apart

“I don’t care how hard being together is; nothing is worse than being apart.”

– Josephine Angelini

romantic-thoughts-thursday-never-apart

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Having A Bad Day? 5 Ways to Improve Your Mood

So you’re having a bad day. Man, that sucks. Sorry to hear that. If you don’t have someone to pep you up right when you need it most, well, like everything else, the burden is on you. Here are ways to improve your mood when you’re having a bad day.

having-a-bad-day-5-ways-to-improve-your-mood

1. Throw Yourself a Pity Party for One.

Why not? You deserve it (I guess). Find a soft place to land, shake your fist at the universe, drop a few ugly tears, punch a pillow, use the choice words of your choice, and then…

2. Indulge.

After you’ve lamented and allowed yourself to feel as low as you’re willing to go, now’s the time to reconnect with your inner child and ask him or her what is needed to make the boo-boo better. Do you need chocolate? Binge-watching your favorite show? Retail therapy (window-shopping style)? A quick trip to your favorite restaurant?

Do something that you know will bring those happy endorphins back to the surface. Let it be in moderation, and let it serve as a reminder to you that you can still be happy, even in this bad day moment.

3. Remember: A Day Lasts Only 24-Hours.

No more, no less. Even when you just want to roll over in a corner and wait for this day to end, just remember that no matter what you do, the day will end. Eventually, the clock will strike 12 and a new day will begin.

Will the fact that a new day has begun eradicate the pain and damage that the bad day had wrought? Of course not. Don’t be silly. But the truth remains – the only way to heal or recover from any setback, no matter how large or small, is to take things one day at a time.

4. Reach Out.

This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but hear me out. When you feel like total crap, of course somewhere in the recesses of your mind, you’ll likely hear a voice reminding you that others have it worse.

Meh. In the age of the almighty Selfie, that voice may be very weak.

Instead, just go ahead think about yourself. (Yes, I said that.) You know you want to do that anyway, so just go ahead and do it. Think about how good YOU will feel when you do something positive or helpful for someone else. It’s up to you to decide how to do it. Sure, the easiest ways often involve money, but not as much as you may think.

Remember the “Pay It Forward” concept? In one example, one guy paid for the burger combo for the guy behind him, and then that guy paid for the woman behind him and so on until there was a chain of folks just eating burgers and making others happy. (Alright, a huge part of me wants to know who the person was who stopped the chain and said, “A free meal? Cool, thanks.” And moved on. Which was also totally okay.)

Anyway, you know what I mean. While you’re indulging on your treat of choice (see #2), maybe see if you can share it with someone else. It’s a scientific fact that making others feel positive makes your thoughts more positive as well.

5. MOVE FORWARD.

This part is always the hardest part. It’s so easy to get caught up in self-pity (#1), and kind hover between steps 1 and 2. But you don’t want to remain in an insect pattern, because you may never get out of it.

Start looking for a way to improve your disposition, situation, outlook on things, etc. You don’t have to do this alone. Even if you haven’t got someone near who can’t get past thinking about themselves, there are resources that anyone can use for free in the US. With a quick Google search, I found these two resources:

https://www.7cups.com

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

One Bad Day Does Not Define You

We all have bad days. I know that I had one yesterday. My husband and parents were super supportive and made sure to call me and talk to me throughout the day to reassure me that I’m not alone, I’m loved, and supported. Of course, that helps me move forward at a much faster pace than having to go at it completely alone. But in the end, moving forward and making sure that the one bad day is just an isolated event is what should define you, not the setback itself.

Wishing you the best of days, and even better ones to come!

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

 

How to Listen (Part 1)

Advice Is Easy To Give, Hard to Follow

How often do we take it upon ourselves to go around and dish out advice that no one asked for? Don’t deny it – you know you’re just as guilty of this as I am. Even if you consider yourself to be the Switzerland of any group where conflicts or debates are involved these days, just think about when you’re at home binging on Netflix and you’re telling a character not to open the front door of the ax murderer’s house.

In one way or another, we all genuinely believe that we know more than others when it comes to certain things (or everything, depending on who you are). There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help others by sharing your astute perspective. Most of the time. Sure, it’s super easy to walk up to someone and say, “I see what you’re doing wrong there. Try this.” You’re not caught up in the situation; you have enough distance to gain perspective and be pragmatic about what you observe.

When your heart and soul are seemingly hanging in the balance, though, it’s a different story. The hard part comes when you’re put to task to follow your own advice. The “OMG just stop whining and quit already” doesn’t quite sound so brilliant when you’re talking to yourself in the mirror as opposed to when you recently said the same thing to a friend who confided in you with their dilemma for the umpteenth time.

Sometimes, Silence is The Best Advice

Don’t think that I’m not cognizant of the irony of this post. I’m giving advice on when not to give advice. Still, it’s a worthwhile opinion to share – and not just because it’s mine.

Recently, a friend who’s really going through some heavy things confided in me. Sure, I could have thrown in my wonderful tidbits of advice, but that wasn’t what my friend needed. They simply needed to be heard. Listening to someone and really hearing what is being said beyond the words spoken takes great skill. I’m not bragging about this; I’ve been cultivating this skill for decades, and I still have a long way to go.

The art of listening and hearing (two different skills btw) includes being able to distinguish when to speak and when to STFU.

This is one skill that I find to be incredibly helpful in both my personal and professional life. You can hear so much more in the silent spaces. If you’re also a musician, you know exactly what I mean.

Try being quiet once in a while – even in your own head. It’s amazing how quickly clarity will find its way to you.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

how-to-listen-part-1

Romantic Thoughts on Thursday: Love Roars Louder Than Your Demons

“His love roared louder than her demons.”

– Unknown

romantic-thoughts-thursday-love-roars-louder-than-demons
Google

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

When Characters Become Dictators

Sometimes Characters Tell You Who They Are. Sometimes They Don’t.

UGH.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, maybe I can go ahead and finish this manuscript that should have been finished 2 months ago.

When you write, it’s amazing to see how many different approaches and techniques that you’ll inevitably use. Each project is like a new experiment, what worked once is never guaranteed to work a second time. Well, except for the sit down and write part.

My latest work, a sweet, YA novella that is slated for release in late October, is the one that is giving me grief. Already at 16,500 words, this novella is screaming for more character depth and development. The heroine and hero want to be super fleshed-out, not just two little gamey tropes, and here’s the gut-puncher of it all – they BOTH want their stories told in the first person narrative.

Which, for whatever reason, totally isn’t my thing. Normally, my developed stories play out in my mind in an arc, and I get to report to everyone else as I observe the action as it takes place in the sweet-spot of third person omniscient.

Not this time.

Stories WANT to be Written

My husband keeps chuckling because I’m complaining about how the story wants to be written in the 1st person. It may sound strange when I say things like that, but it’s totally true. Eventually, stories have lives of their own. It’s a beautiful thing, and a frustrating thing at the same time. I can fully understand how some people call their works “book babies”, because there are a few similarities involved. In any case, this novella is currently throwing a tantrum, and at 3:00 this morning, I finally heard my hero whine “Hey, what about my side of things?” (Insert eye-roll here.)

Since he’s 100% right, damn him, I’ve got to go back and slap his perspective on everything in subsequent chapters. Had this story wanted to be written in 3PO, I would have been finished months ago. Now, I’m off schedule by about 3-4 weeks, and you know, no pressure there.

Teenagers. *Sigh* Here’s hoping for the best, and that I do these kids justice.

Sending Love and Light to you all.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, writing. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

when-characters-become-dictators
Google

 

It’s Quiltin’ Time!: My Mug Rug

Gummy bears and red wine (Montepulciano) are a strange combination for any self-respecting foodie, but they were the first things that I decided to enjoy on my very first scrappy reversible Mug Mat!

Honestly, I prefer calling it a Mug Rug, but either way, its purpose remains the same. I made it out of the literal scraps that I had remaining from my latest quilt. It was a fun little project, and I was finished in under an hour from start to finish, thanks to a quite a few World Cup distractions…

I’m pleased with the result, especially because I created something useful out of something many others might have thrown away. What a wonderful feeling!

Sending Love and Light to you all.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

The BLURB

Blurb: Selling Your Dream in 150 Words or Less

Now, don’t get confused. I did write the Blurb and not the Blob. I’m talking about Blurbs here, although in some ways, blurbs are equally as terrifying as any classic horror film.

It’s a funny thing, being a writer. We spend so much of our waking hours spinning words and creating worlds, delving into the complex lives of characters who live in our minds, yet have to be reborn and developed on paper.

We finally conjure up a written work that has 20,000 words or more – it’s a miracle! – and then, we have to condense it all into 150 words or less. The dreaded BLURB.

the-blurb
Pout Pout Fish

People tend to forget that some of the most convincing artists, writers, and performers are often deliciously socially-awkward introverts who would rather be in some quiet, cocooned place somewhere, and yet they have this inner Drang to share their innermost with others through a specific medium.

Blurbs Are Silly, Very Important Little Things.

I’m not necessarily talking about us writers and folks in the creative/performing arts. (Nyep, I probably am.) But I’m actually thinking about the huge hurdle of writing a blurb. Why did I go through all of the trouble of telling you an elaborate story if you only want to hear about it in 6 complex sentences, or 10 if I keep things simple???

Anyway, as you may have guessed by now, I’m at the blurb phase of one of my latest stories. It’s the first in a fun, light, sweet YA romance series, and best of all, to my most faithful of followers, it will be FREE to those who sign up for my newsletter.

So, while I’m enjoying life in Blurblandia, let’s keep in touch on social media outlets like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest in the meantime.

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest for more.

 

Romantic Thoughts on Thursday

“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before; she may love again.

But if she loves you now, what else matters? She’s not perfect—you aren’t either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can.

She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break—her heart.

So don’t hurt her, don’t change her, don’t analyze and don’t expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she’s not there.”

– Bob Marley

 

romantic-thoughhts-thursday-love-again
Google

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

Book Review: HOME by Jezz de Silva

My Quick Book Review of Home by Jezz de Silva

Length: 324 pages (Kindle Edition)
Date of Publication: June 28, 2018
Personal Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
Quick Points: Fantastic read, fleshed-out romance tropes, extremely well-developed characters, slow-burn, interracial, May/December, friends to lovers, happily ever after

Inappropriate, Yet Pretty Much Accurate Synopsis: Exotic eye-candy elite solider fulfills his dying BFF’s wish by eventually banging his wife.

(Come on. We all know what “take care of her” means in romance-speak.)

book-review-home-by-jezz-de-silva
Home

My Actual, Proper Book Review: 

Home. It’s the place where we always long to be, a private sanctuary where we can truly be ourselves. At its most ideal, home the place where you can be your most vulnerable, yet it’s also the source of your greatest strength and sense of security. Home is the place where your dreams are nourished, and your understanding of true love, protection, and loyalty thrives.

My first impression of the stand-alone novel Home was a positive one. If you’re into slow-burn, friends to lovers, military, interracial, pseudo May/December romance, then you’re bound to be satisfied with what this novel has to offer you. De Silva slaps a perfectly dosed amount of all of the above, with an extra feel good trope or two for good measure. Set in West Australia, the author’s talent of descriptive writing shines through the narrative with visuals that make any reader feel as though she or he is Down Under in the middle of the action like a fly on the wall.

Evelyn (Eve) and Mark Watson have been married for nearly 20 years, and their love is the strongest imaginable. Mark, a Special Forces Staff Sergeant, and his right hand man, Corporal Jamie Turner, are the best of the best in the elite unit. When the two explicitly disobey an order so that they may save numerous innocent lives, tragedy befalls the duo. Before Mark succumbs to his fatal injuries, he makes his young best friend promise to protect Eve, the love of his life.

Jamie, a 28 year old Maori who towers over most people, has the strength of a legendary warrior, the discipline and fine-tuning of the elite soldier that he is, the finesse and charm of any  modern day Casanova, and the heart of a well-loved teddy bear. He makes good on his promise, and is literally welcomed with open arms by both Mark’s grieving widow and his feisty sister, Maggie (who is also Eve’s best friend). Jamie is always respectful, kind, and honest, and he lends his exceptional talents to restore the run-down Watson family home. Eve is a tough, direct, and brave 39 year old trauma nurse who struggles to move forward and stabilize her family’s future. The platonic friendship between the trio is strong and never waivers throughout the story.

As time progresses, the friendship between Jaime and Eve blossoms into romance. From there, the two consummate their transition from friends to lovers. Eventually, the protagonists are able to identify exactly what Home means to them.

Although I’m not a shrinking violet when it comes to profanity, there were times where I felt that its use didn’t necessarily progress the story. Of course, war is hell, and when the effects of it rip into the characters’ lives, I suppose that an F-bomb or ten are justified. Also, my expectations of a May/December romance went far beyond a circa 11-year age difference between Eve and Jaime. To me, that’s more like a May/August thing. No real biggie. (These days, a May/December is more like the current President of France, Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, who is 24 years his senior.)

When Jamie and Eve do finally make love, the intimate scene is disproportionately short in comparison to the time it takes for them to get to that pivotal moment. More time could have been given to the scene that most readers anticipate throughout the majority of the novel. (In fairness, because the characters hadn’t gotten any in such a long time, this could have been the author’s way of keeping things real. Just sayin’.)
If de Silva had chosen to, the entire sex scene(s) could have been left out of the novel, and it still would have been a perfectly solid read. However, the build up leaves the reader wanting the two characters to achieve fulfillment and unity on all levels, and although this occurs, the physical scenes did feel a bit rushed in comparison to the rest of the beautifully descriptive passages. 

Despite this, the dosage of romance is top-notch throughout the entire novel. If you’re looking for a romantic novel that exposes you to both the raw pain and exhilaration of love, then you’ll not feel cheated in the least.      

All in all, this slow-burn moved at a perfect pace. I found myself taking my time with this story, savoring each passage that continuously built layer after layer of character dimension and depth. De Silva is a storyteller, and he breathed true life into the characters Jaime and Eve. The character development is so incredibly thorough; there were many moments throughout the novel where there were tears in my eyes, simply because I could relate to the characters’ emotional battles in such a meaningful way. Their vulnerability, the rawness of their need to love, be accepted, and be loved, will clutch the heartstrings of any compassionate reader. Home is definitely a worthwhile read. Get a copy, and check out the talented author at jezzdesilva.com. I’ll BOL for more of his works!

Sending Love and Light to all of you.

©Atina Atwood 2018 Exploring Love and Life, One Word At A Time.™

– Atina Atwood is a southern girl who moved from Europe to the West Coast. A former university professor in Germany and California, Atina stepped away from Academia to focus on her miracle child, life, love, food, quilting, and of course, Romance. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for more.

%d bloggers like this: