Image: John Cole
Tag Archives: romance
Actress Megan Fox, best known for her roles in the Transformers franchise, and rap singer Machine Gun Kelly (Colson Baker) recently announced on their respective Instagram accounts that, after more than a year of dating, they are engaged.
“In July of 2020 we sat under this banyan tree,” Fox wrote in the caption of her post. “We asked for magic. We were oblivious to the pain we would face together in such a short, frenetic period of time. Unaware of the work and sacrifices the relationship would require from us but intoxicated off of the love. And the karma.”
It gets better – or worse, depending on your age category and romantic predilections.
Fox continued: “And just as in every lifetime before this one, and as in every lifetime that will follow it, I said yes…and then we drank each other’s blood.”
Call me old-fashioned, but what happened to engagement rings? Blood?! I would have preferred a shot of tequila and a hand job – not necessarily in that order. But again, I’m old school when it comes to love and romance.
And I feel so sad for that banyan tree; having to witness that kind of psychosis on full display. Let us hope and pray it can get the proper therapy and go on to lead a happy arboreal life.
“What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork.”
“Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.”
“Valentine’s Day: the holiday that reminds you that if you don’t have a special someone, you’re alone.”
“Love is a lot like a backache: it doesn’t show up on X-rays, but you know it’s there.”
“Love is a two-way street constantly under construction.”
“A girl can wait for the right man to come along, but in the meantime that doesn’t mean she can’t have a wonderful time with all the wrong ones.”
“An archeologist is the best husband any woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.”
“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your heart or burn down your house, you can never tell.”
“Marry a man your own age; as your beauty fades, so will his eyesight.”
“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.”
“I married for love, but the obvious side benefit of having someone around to find my glasses cannot be ignored.”
“Oh, here’s an idea: Let’s make pictures of our internal organs and give them to other people we love on Valentine’s Day. That’s not weird at all.”
“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.”
“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be … well, January.”
“Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you’re in.”
“Love is telling someone their hair extensions are showing.”
“You are never alone on Valentine’s Day if you’re near a lake and have bread.”
“I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz
“Men want the same thing from their underwear that they want from women; a little bit of support and a little bit of freedom.”
“Love is blind – marriage is the eye-opener.”
“If love is the answer, could you please rephrase the question?”
“Love thy neighbor – and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.”
“You can’t buy love, but you can pay heavily for it.”
“I love magazines and film critics, so I eat it up. I’m not one of those people who says, ‘I never read anything.’ I generally read all of it.”
“I’m convinced that it’s energy and humor. The two of them combined equal charm.”
“Surely the whole point of writing your own life story is to be as honest as you possibly can, revealing everything about yourself that is most private and probably most interesting for that very reason.”
“Have some sort of private place to work in. Put up a sign to keep from being interrupted. Mine says: ‘Please, do not knock, do not say hello or goodbye, do not ask what’s for dinner, do not disturb me unless the fire or policemen have to be called.’”
“Thousands of people plan to be writers, but they never get around to it. The only way to find out if you can write is to set aside a certain period every day and try.”
“Some questions are not meant to be asked as long as the answers are right.”
“The rich are different only because people treat them as if they were.”
It’s great to know the e-version of my debut novel is now on sale at Wal-Mart – right next to the cheesy romance stuff. But hey, a writer has to start somewhere, right?!
Juan Miguel thought of his great-aunt again and suddenly recollected another death even further back – one of his parents’ friends. He’d never met the woman, but watched his mother, Marisol, become overwhelmed with grief; an unusually emotional response from a woman who’d driven herself to the hospital during evening rush hour, when she thought she’d gone into labor with him.
She and some other old friends had gathered shortly after the rosary – another long-ass rosary – to reminisce about their younger days and quickly found themselves laughing in the sanctity of the funeral home.
“Like I’ve said before,” his father, Armando, interjected, almost philosophically, “you need to get together.”
And everyone agreed. They needed to get together; reconvene under more pleasant circumstances and relive the best parts of their lives. They promised to call each other and do something; have lunch or dinner – anything! Just stay in touch before it was too late. Then they left – and his parents never heard from anybody.
Until someone’s name popped up in the obituaries.
James paused before stepping onto the patio. Juan Miguel followed.
A crescent moon hovered above. He heard voices – and music. He looked around, as the voices became louder; people talking and laughing, while gathered along the walkways in the yard. Then, he noticed the orbs of light amidst the trees – lanterns. Along with the moon, they lit up the area. The chatter and laughter continued, as the orchestral music grew stronger.
“She’s out there,” James said. “She’s waiting for you. She loves you.” He receded into the house and dropped into a chair. The blue-eyed cat hopped onto his lap. He began caressing it, as the animal laid its head upon its paws.
Juan Miguel peered into the foliage through the opaque light of both the moon and the lanterns. The laughter – it sounded so good. Nights made for lovers. He smiled, as floral aromas swarmed around him, and light winds cavorted with the trees.
Remember, my debut novel, “The Silent Fountain”, is available in both print and e-versions. It’s the perfect gift – birthday, Christmas, retirement, a month without a road incident – for anyone on any occasion, especially those who like their romance a little on the creepy – I mean, surreal! – side.
“You never really stop loving someone.”
“Just grass,” Juan Miguel mumbled. Just flowers. What kind of flowers?
Yes – lilacs. I don’t know much about flowers. Lilacs, orchids… He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Love that scent – fresh grass – lilacs – her. Her scent, her soft skin. He opened his eyes, as sunlight spilled through a gap in the ceiling and bounced off her auburn hair.
“Ay, que simpatico,” she crooned, as if seeing him for the first time.
He grinned modestly, realizing how he must look: half naked and sweaty with matted hair. “Gracias,” he finally chirped, feeling like an awkward teenager – again.
“Es verdad.” (It’s true.)
He didn’t know what to say. How did she manage to do this to him? Her dark green eyes still bore that strong sense of love and admiration – and hurt. Why? Why do you look so sad? What hurts so much?
The print version of my debut novel, “The Silent Fountain”, is now available. The e-version has been out since December 21, 2018. Today, January 14, 2019, also happens to be my father’s 86th birthday. That wasn’t by design, but I also don’t believe it’s purely coincidental either.
As always, thanks for your continued support, my good followers!
“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.”
– Washington Irving (1783-1859)
Image by J.L.A. De La Garza
“You never really stop loving someone.”
The hours moved quickly: midnight, one o’clock, two o’clock… Why can’t I sleep? He flipped the pillow again, sighing heavily, and closed his eyes, determined to keep them that way.
Then David’s smiling face sprinted through his mind. “Oh, God!” he hollered, more out of irritation than sadness, his hands slamming onto his forehead. “Not now! I’m too tired!” His arms flopped down on either side of him. “I’m just too damn tired.”
David’s quirky grin disappeared, but the same guilty sensation settled back into him. He sat up, face buried in his hands. “It’s not fair,” he whispered. “It’s just not right. Why, God? Why David? Why’d you do that to him? I’ve asked you again and again, and you still won’t tell me.”
“You shouldn’t be afraid of death,” Juan Miguel’s paternal grandfather once told him and his brothers. The old man actually admired death. “It doesn’t discriminate. It takes whomever it wants: young, old, anyone.”
But as Juan Miguel now let his body convulse in quiet sobs, he had to disagree; it does discriminate. It takes the young, when it should take the old. It takes the good, when it should take the bad.
The e-book version of my debut novel, “The Silent Fountain”, is now available. And what better Christmas present than a story of someone in a gigantic old house filled with colorful characters and strange sounds?! Aside from me in a Speedo with a bottle of wine…no, wait! That was in another life. Never mind! I told you people when I started this blog nearly 7 years ago I was weird! Like you needed more proof, right? Anyway, thanks for your love and adoration, my good followers!
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
Image by J.L.A. De La Garza
The Chief is happy to announce the upcoming publication of my first completed novel, “The Silent Fountain”, courtesy of Book Baby – an independent firm based in Pennsauken, New Jersey. It will be available in both print and electronic versions by mid-December 2018. Once I confirm the actual publication date, I will issue another formal announcement.
To family and friends who have known of my literary dreams for decades and heard me speak of this for so long (too long actually), yes finally, it is now becoming a reality! Following what seems like a lifetime of promises, it IS happening. Now, aren’t you glad you waited!
After some two decades of writing and rewriting; plotting and planning; submitting and getting rejected; hoping and praying; and slaving over hot pencils and hotter keyboards, it is all coming to fruition. It took a while (to put it mildly), but I have kept my promise to all of you.
“The Silent Fountain” is best classified as a paranormal romance – emphasis on paranormal. I don’t do romance very well – either in literature or real life. I came up with the story idea around 1996 and first submitted it to a traditional publisher in 2001. The publisher, a university-based imprint that shall go unnamed, specializes in fiction and non-fiction from both published and unpublished writers of Hispanic heritage, with a focus on all things Hispanic or Latino. The company stated in their mission that they strive to combat stereotypes about Latinos and to give a voice to a group that has otherwise been ignored by the mainstream press and the literary world.
I felt “The Silent Fountain” met that criteria. As my blog followers should know by now, I am definitely of Hispanic heritage. I’ve been fighting stereotypes about Latinos my entire life. Most of the characters in “The Silent Fountain” are Hispanic; yet don’t fit the Hollywood mold of how we behave and what we look like. They’re not gang-bangers or low-riders; they’re not violent, alcoholic, dim-witted and sexually-obsessed cretins; and they’re not illiterate fools who snuck across the U.S. border in the middle of the night with a handful of clothes stuffed into plastic bags.
The people in my novel are educated, smart and possess the amazing ability to speak perfect English. Most are native-born Texans who own and operate a real estate conglomerate; live in a large, century-old, well-appointed home; listen to classical music; and wear nice clothes. They are much like my own relatives and other Latinos I’ve known and worked with over the nearly six decades of my life on Earth.
But that university turned it down, giving me the most classic of all literary rejections: it didn’t meet “their needs at this time.” I got the same response from the seven other publishing houses where I submitted the novel. One editor actually returned the manuscript with a note declaring the “characters are too implausible” because of their wealth and Hispanic ethnicity. “The average reader won’t believe that,” they told me. I replied with a letter to that editor (which I know sounds childish and unprofessional) telling them I write for smart people anyway. They didn’t reply.
After taking a closer look at the type of books and essays the university imprint publishes and distributes, I realized why they turned me down. I’m not some pathetic wetback who made their way to the U.S. via a harrowing journey across vast expanses of deserts and mountains atop an aging train; thus, neither are my characters. I don’t know many people like that anyway. I’ve spent my life avoiding people who are illiterate and don’t care about the sanctity of U.S. law. My book also isn’t a saccharine-laced tale told in a first-person narrative by a young child who grew up in huts with no shoes and little schooling; yet still has the ability to comprehend everything that’s going on around them and are subsequently able to offer their elders sensible explanations on how to deal with critical issues. This is not a children’s picture book with verbiage sweet enough to give you cavities. In fact, there are no children in my novel. Moreover, it’s a paranormal romance with some sexual activity and foul language. So, while they look for Hispanic-oriented literary works by Hispanic authors that defy mainstream stereotypes, I feel they essentially created a stereotypical classification for themselves. And, as usual, I didn’t fit into it. But that’s okay. People have always tried to place me in a box to make themselves comfortable with who they think I am or should be and ended up failing. Such as happened in this case.
Upon starting this blog in 2012, I had to sit back and reconsider where I wanted my writing ventures to go. Did I want to attempt the traditional route again? Go through the same decades-old procedures for contacting a publishing house? Between 2001 and 2012, it seemed the list of book publishers had dwindled. Publishing has fallen victim to the same corporate evil as banks did in the 1990s and IT firms did in the last decade: mergers and acquisitions.
By 2012, however, self-publishing had become a more popular route for average writers. In fact, self-publishing has come a long way from the vanity press market several years ago; the last resort road for luckless writers. Growth of that beloved monstrosity known as the Internet gave storytellers a more direct path to seeing their words in print. And thus, I made my decision. And here I am.
Below is a synopsis of the novel, which is the verbiage that will appear on the back cover.
Juan Miguel de la Montana lives a quiet life as a single man, spending his personal time reading, exercising, listening to music and drinking white wine. But his carefully-structured routine is interrupted when he learns of the death of an old college friend. He attends the funeral and planned to return home quickly. He didn’t expect to encounter another college friend at the grave site, much less strike up a conversation and then meet him for dinner. He certainly didn’t expect the man to invite him to a nearby ranch estate where he’s vacationing with friends, much less accept the offer.
Yet, once there, Juan Miguel feels pleasantly overwhelmed – and begins to enjoy the company of the estate’s owners, the Santiago family, and their colorful friends. Black orchids, a blue-eyed cat, lilac perfume and a long-dormant water fountain slip into his subconscious and initially mean nothing to him. But, just as Juan Miguel falls in love with his new friends and the ranch’s bucolic surroundings, he’s unprepared to fall in love with Esperanza, a Santiago relative.
And, it doesn’t seem to matter that she died sixty years ago.
I’m dedicating this book to my parents, George and Guadalupe De La Garza, who tolerated more from me than most reasonable people would have. My father especially helped me with the Spanish translations; we’d spend an hour or more on the phone. My biggest regret is that I didn’t make a more concerted effort to get this thing published before he died in 2016. And my mother’s mental health has deteriorated to the point where she probably doesn’t remember me talking about it much.
So, if there’s one piece of advice I can give to anyone, it’s NEVER put off what you can do as soon as possible. I always said that life got in the way. But I finally realized life wasn’t getting in the way. I was letting it get in the way. My writing and my dreams have always been a part of my persona. But I kept putting them on hold to take care of other stuff. Don’t do that! Your best dreams can never die, but the people you love the most eventually do.
Image by J.L.A. De La Garza
If any of you single ladies are looking for love on this Valentine’s Day (or just need to get out of the house), you must have the right approach. Many moons ago people had to scour the “single’s ads” in various newspapers and periodicals in the hopes of meeting the right person. Even I’m old enough to remember chuckling at poetic pleas buried in the black ink of unrequited desperation. Check out some of these lonely hearts from the 1960s and be glad for the Internet – where everyone has a color photo and is now bound by ethical standards to tell the truth.