Friday, January 25, 2013

Where Did the Day Go?

Like many of my fellow author friends, I have plans to spend all of my time writing away cranking out one book after another, living my dream of a published author...and hopefully a successful one! ;) Unfortunately like many I have found that real life gets in the way of my writing plans. The laundry and dishes that continue to pile up will not go away by themselves. Neither will the litter boxes become miraculously clean simply because I wish them to be. All of these every day tasks must be done by someone, but who will do it when Stephanie the Writer is off creating worlds?

My husband has been an amazing support system and will pick up the slack for me most of the time. Unfortunately there are days where both of us are letting things pile up, adding to our already high stress levels because of our every day jobs...what I like to refer to as our evil day jobs. "Mr. Ryan" is in the Coast Guard and has to get up at 5 am daily. To me that's an ungodly hour so I try to avoid it as much as possible! LOL Since he has to get up so early, he's often dropping off rather early at night, even on Friday night. He's been in the military for over 20 years and his body is used to this schedule. 

Do you see where I'm going with this? 

At times we're like two ships that pass in the night, or in the early morning as the case may be. For my evil day job, I have to work afternoons and on Sundays I work at 8am when Mr. Ryan has the day off. When we finally do get time to spend with each other, it's often taken up with running errands or catching up with the household chores. 

So when do I get to write?  Good question. 

It's just not about my writing either. There are two alter egos that have to find the time to work on their WIPs as well. With so many different characters and plotlines running through "our" brain, it's a wonder "we" get any sleep at all. I would much rather stay up late and be the night owl that I've been for years, than to get my butt out of bed before 8am. Unfortunately, staying up late and sleeping in hasn't given me any wiggle room in my schedule. I'm going to have to make a BIG change here, starting tomorrow morning.

As much as I detest it, I'm going to start getting up early and going to bed before 12:30am. That's just the way it has to be in order to get everything done. It's probably going to be a good idea to restart the "Fly Lady" way of house cleaning and organizing too. Mr. Ryan and I can get so much done together during the early hours if I make that little change. He's made so many more concessions for me and my writing. It's time I give back to him and our home. 

With that thought, I'll leave you all for the night. 6am comes awfully early to those of us who aren't used to taking the covers off our heads before the sun comes up! Goodnight!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Introducing the Characters of The Do Over

Hello all! I'm excited to share with you my cast of characters for my most current WIP and one I hope to have out before the end of the summer. This character description also serves as a basic story outline for me to follow. Of course the characters will take over and change things up here and there...especially the Goddess Rhiannon. Can't you just see her meddling a bit more with Claire and her men? Let me know what you think of the characters and the basic story so far. I found pictures of the actors, models and singers who gave inspiration for the characters. They are who I see in my mind while I write, not necessarily who you will see so just go with it! 


The Do Over

Stephanie Ryan

Cast of Characters

Claire Dunning   42 year old chef from Michigan who now lives in California with her husband of two years.  Claire has long raven black hair and eyes to die for in the shade of jade. Not the blue green variety that seem to change color with what the person is wearing, but true green eyes, with a dark emerald green ring around the edges. The effect  often startled people when they first meet her and everyone asks where she gets her contacts.  She stands 5’ 8” in bare feet with curves to die for.  Usually wears her waist length naturally wavy hair up in some form of braid or clip to keep it out of her way while in the restaurant.

She’s been married to Sean Maguire for just over two years at the start of the story. They met through a group function 5 years before at Epcot. He was starting out in a brewery contest and she was entered in a catering contest. Both won their categories and each other in the process.  For the first two years they were always burning white hot for each other, barely able to keep their hands off each other, until their restaurant opened up.  They started drifting apart sending Claire into a “what if” mode and reconnecting with a love from long ago.

After a third and very emotionally painful miscarriage, Claire turns to a very unlikely friend from her past. The teenaged love bubbling up to the surface each time she talked to him, wishing she could just wrap herself up in his arms and forget everything and everyone else.  She would prefer to have that reaction for her husband, but he was always too busy for her and avoided her and her grief. His family, although trying to make her feel better, kept telling her it wasn’t in God’s plan for her to have children now with all that was going on in her life. She just had to keep trying.  Unfortunately it was getting too painful to go through the disappointment each and every month when there was no baby. Just when her hopes would be raised and that magical three month marker approached, she would awaken to a pool of blood in their bed and no baby.

Sean Maguire  36 year old hot shot brew master of the pub The Blarney Stone he runs with Claire and the rest of the Maguire clan. As the middle son, he always had to work harder to get the recognition from his father that he craved growing up. Now with The Blarney Stone taking off and becoming the hottest spot in San Jose, CA frequented by many local celebrities, sports celebrities and even the Food Network, Sean finally has the approval from his Da. In fact all of his siblings are thrilled for him and all work with him and Claire to make the place shine each and every night.

He’s ripped,  6ft 2” former football player who lost his spot with the pros after a near-fatal car accident. He wasn’t driving, but one of his teammates was. They were hit by a drunk driver. The teammate died instantly and Sean woke up after a three month long coma in traction with a broken back. With his football career over, he turned to his studies of brewing beer and wine, entering in every competition he could in order to learn his craft from the best.

It was his shoulder length dark brown hair and hazel eyes that had the dark emerald ring around the edges that drew Claire in. His mother said the matching eye rings meant the fae had marked them as mates.  It felt right the moment he kissed her. He couldn’t see his life without her and yet he knew she was pulling away.

The joy of their life…The Blarney Stone…was slowly tearing them apart. Struggling with infertility, Claire turned inward and shut him out more than not.  If he didn’t do something fast, he was going to lose the only woman who ever completed him heart and soul.

Nicholas (Nick) Brendan 43 year old police officer back in the Michigan town he grew up in. The place he spent all of his teen years trying to escape, he now called home and the town called him Chief. Living in the small town again after doing his 20 in with the Corps, was the furthest from his mind, but the chance to be near his kids and new granddaughter made the case. His divorce from his second wife was brutal, but luckily his first wife was still at least cordial and helped him rebuild his battered relationship with his kids. He missed a lot of the years they were growing up, but he wanted to be there for his grandkids now that he had his head on straight.

Partying every night and jumping into bed with any bar fly was no longer his thing. In fact he gave that up as soon as he had his discharge papers from the Marines. His tours in the desert took their toll, leaving him with shrapnel in his shoulder and back, and nightmares that could still put him in the fetal position.  It was the memories of Claire and her jade eyes that could pull him through all that pain. Seeing her wedding announcement in the local paper damn near killed him. He had always hoped she would come back home after her first marriage failed and maybe they could pick up where they never started.

From the tenth grade on he had nursed a serious crush on the raven haired beauty, but she was just always out of his league. It’s not like she was dating anyone back then, but she kept more to herself and was considered a “good girl.”  Now that he had a great job and could actually be considered a good catch, he went looking for her online. Through Facebook he learned about her first wedding, divorce and now second wedding. She looked so happy to him in those photos of her wedding to Maguire. Her eyes drew him in as always and made him want to be the one to put that glorious smile on her face.

Lately something had changed though. She seemed sad in her posts, not willing to chat with their groups, begging off for one crisis or another with the restaurant. Then she confided in him that she miscarried once again. He wanted nothing more than to put his arms around her and take away all that pain, but she was so far away. Maybe if they could see each other in person for the 25th reunion they could see if there was still that spark? 

If he could go back in time and relive any part of his life, it would be to take a chance with her. Maybe they would still be married now, with children and a grandchild on the way, with Claire in his arms and bed every night. 

Rhiannon the honey skinned passenger next to Claire on her flight back to Michigan for her reunion. Rhiannon’s laugh is soft and melodic at one moment, loud and bawdy the next bringing smiles to everyone’s faces. Her silver eyes pierce you to your very soul when you stare into them, and you can’t help but surrender to her charms.  She dresses in flowing mid-calf length dresses,  that do very little to hide her voluptuous frame.

There’s a reason this beauty commands the attention of all around her. She is a Goddess, sent to grant Claire her wish to live part of her life over again. Rhiannon didn’t want to do it for she thought it was foolish to allow humans to be able to rewind part of their life cycle without learning all the lessons they were meant to learn, but her siblings felt this Do Over would be the greatest lesson of all for sweet Claire.

Rhiannon’s wild, long curly hair was streaked with blondes, reds and light browns. No one could tell what her original color was supposed to be and that was how Rhiannon liked it. Keep them guessing and you will always be the one they dream about!

Claire’s heartbreak of her last miscarriage tugged at her own emotions and Rhiannon wanted nothing more than to just tell her to hold on. Her child was waiting to come to her very soon, but first things first. The clock must be turned back 25 years, to Senior Prom when Claire had her chance to give her heart to the one boy she would have given anything to be with.

©Stephanie Ryan and Sassy Vixen Publishing 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cyber Relationships: Real or Elaborate Hoax

I've watched the many news stories about the Notre Dame linebacker's dead girlfriend hoax. With each broadcast on each network, more and more pieces of the puzzle were found. Now it looks like the whole thing was perpetrated by a so called friend of Manti Te'o. Nearly four years of a prank gone wrong and this dude never thought to call it off? That's the first thing that popped in my head when learning of all of this, but all the media could focus on was whether or not it was possible for someone to be dating someone for so long without ever meeting them.

Let's take a step back for a moment and look at the whole online FRIENDSHIPS that develop through social media, Yahoo Chat groups, and other forums. There are many more of course including the online gamer community. So many hours are spent in front of computer screens and on smartphones these days. There is very little time to actually go out and meet people the old fashioned way...IN PERSON. These online forums and groups allow people to connect with others before that first often awkward meeting. It allows you go get to know each other a bit and establish a bond that sometimes can take months of date nights to do. All of this from the privacy and safety of your own home.  At least that's the idea.

Unfortunately there are way too many Internet trolls out there and in Manti's case, the troll happened to be right under his nose posing as a friend. There really isn't anything out there preventing someone from setting up a fake account on any of these sites and pretend they are someone they are not. I have four different accounts on Facebook myself but I don't make any of them a secret. Right in the ABOUT sections I tell everyone straight off that Stephanie Ryan is one of my pen names as is Lia Michaels and Tammy Dennings Maggy. Tammy is also known as The Vixen on our blogs. That's not a secret either. I'm not talking about these types of accounts but those of people who are deliberately lying to others in order to manipulate their feelings and sometimes set them up for some kind of fraud.

One of the stories about Manti stated that the friend, posing as the "girlfriend" had even fished around for Manti's checking account routing numbers so "she" could send him some money. Thanks goodness Manti didn't fall for that bit. He could have been taken for more than just his pride in this grand hoax. You all know about the Nigerian prince/princess fishing schemes that go around. Well, these are getting more and more elaborate using online dating sites to prey on people looking for love.

One of my friends was immediately drawn in by this woman who claimed to live in Nigeria. Her story was that she was the child of a British national who married a native Nigerian. The woman told my friend that she had witnessed the villagers kill her father when she was a child and basically that the British government couldn't do anything to get her or her mother out of the country. What a crock! Well that's what I thought when I heard the story, but not my friend. After a few months of chats, emails and phone calls, their friendship grew more and more intimate. She talked of her wish to explore the United States and maybe visit my friend in her travels. He thought that would be fun. She then dug deeper and told him she had feelings for him and wanted to see where that went. Her "mother" even thought it was a great idea for her to get out of Nigeria and have a better life...with MY FRIEND.  It got bad enough that my friend actually sent money to this girl to help secure her ticket to the States.  This person even sent my friend an itinerary of her flights so he would know she was really making the trip.

Are you seeing where I'm going with this?  Wait...there's more. (Here's a LINK that gives more stories like what you are about to read.)

On the very day she was to arrive, she had a near fatal car accident on the way to the airport. My friend found this out because a "doctor" found his number on the girl's cell phone and called him. The girl's "mother" called my friend in a panic about how the cost of the tickets were non-refundable and what were they going to do. She wasn't concerned at all about her daughter on death's door and not expected to make it.  FINALLY this was enough to make my friend realize he was nearly taken for a hell of a lot more than just a little money.  As soon as he told the "mother" that all she had to do was contact the airlines to reticket, the woman became upset and had to go sit by her daughter's bedside. Then a few days later he get's an email from this broad stating she is still in the hospital and can't go home since the bill is still unpaid. She had "begged" her doctor to be able to use his laptop in order to contact "the man I love to let him know I am alive and trying to get to him."

How do I know all of this? Well, the male friend in question above is now my husband. I had to sit back and watch him go through all of this and basically let him figure it out for what it was...fraud.  Many people are not as lucky as he was. Some have sent thousands of dollars to these people thinking they are helping the women/men they love get a better life.

The lesson here is that while you can develop wonderful friendships here online, think hard before you take things to the next level. Make sure you can meet each other in person at some point if that's what you wish to do. DO NOT send anyone any money for them to be able to come see you, get out of jail, pay their hospital bills, etc. While you can develop real feelings for someone based on your correspondence alone, you need to remember that it's only an profound attraction at that point. Until you meet in person and things click, it's all fantasy.

There's nothing wrong with fantasy, but when you start thinking that fantasy world is real you just may be setting yourself up for some gut-wrenching heartbreak. You don't have to agree with me on this. It's just my opinion and lessons I've learned and seen...through my own eyes.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ryan's World: New Author, New Attitude!

I'd like to welcome you to the very first blog post here at Through Stephanie's Eyes. In case you haven't guessed, I'm Stephanie Ryan and this is my world. I've waited quite some time to make my debut into social media and blogging. I wasn't sure when the time would be right. Well, as many more published...authors will tell you if you wait to get started on promoting your first book after it's published, you are already way behind.

I've you've read the About Me section here and on Google, you know I'm one of several alter egos. So I'm not a complete newbie when it comes to blogging, Facebook, twitter, Triberr and the like. I've learned the hard way that it takes quiet a bit of a writer's time to keep up with social media, writing, and juggling real life duties. Now add onto that trying to juggle three pen names and all their responsibilities. Now you have an inkling as to why I held off starting this blog.

The large number of manuscripts "we" have on "our" desk was the biggest driving force. I want people to recognize my name and go looking for me when it's time for my first book to come out. I don't want to start out as a brand spanking new author with no fans other than some friends and family. Let's face it, those folks are wonderful, but how many of them actually put their money where their mouths are and buy the books they promised they would when they pushed you to submit your "baby" to a publisher?

So here I am, ready to tackle writing, editing, publishing and promoting full on. Am a a bit scared? You better believe it! Do I think it will all be worth it? Absolultely!

Bring it!