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Monday, August 25, 2008

First Loves and "Gaydar" Mishaps

His name was Roddy and I was sure we'd end up together. Trouble was, after three years of dating, I wanted a more physical relationship (wanton woman that I was), and he didn't seem interested. Maybe all that time we spent apart (at separate colleges) was the reason he lost interest in me. But, who knows? Do men get turned off by women asking for "more"?

He crushed my ego, as I'd been with his family at events, and he'd tagged along with me to family functions. What happened? A nagging suspicion crept into my thoughts and took up residence. I wondered if he was gay.

Yeah, okay. Seemed like a stretch of the imagination and made me sound superficial to think that just because I got dumped by a guy I'd dated for 3 years, he had to be gay. But, you have to understand something.

It happened before.

Yes, in my growing up years, I was very naive. Being gay was spoken about in hushed tones, almost in whispers. I'd dated James maybe a month before he dumped me. He'd picked me up for a date, and I swear I remember exactly what I wore...short blue mini skirt, yellow top, and a triangle headband with daisies planted firmly around my head (aging myself here - late 1960's). I'd bought everything new and even had my mother take my picture.

We drove down the block until James pulled over and parked. Never even turned the corner nor had I had time to move over closer to him. He then faced me and blurted out that he couldn't date me anymore. He was sorry. No more explanation was given. That was it. I sat mortified in his car for a minute, not quite sure what the hell had happened. I got out of the car in a daze and walked home.

His cousin, a good friend of mine, was furious that he hadn't given a reason for breaking up with me. I was embarrassed but moved on...and dated his brother a few times. We didn't last as a couple and had dated just as friends so we went our separate ways.

A few years later, I found out the real story. James had "come out of the closet"...he was gay. Not only that, so did his brother! Hell...I'd dated two brothers who turned out to be gay! Coming from a big Italian family, that wasn't taken well by his family. I was just relieved to find out it didn't have anything to do with me.

So, when Roddy backed off (after giving me diamond earrings months earlier), I had to wonder if this would turn out to be my number "3" gay encounter. You know how things happen in "3's", right? He had no other girlfriend (I checked it out and had friends check for me, too...plus, he was good friends with my brother). Another woman in the picture would be understandable but aggravating. Another man in his life would have had me wondering if I had some type of "gay men, here I am...a safe date/friend/chance to see if you're really gay" signal coming from me somewhere.

Nope. Not gay. I found out he later married and divorced...but of course my revengeful self never once wished him any form of unhappiness.

If you believe that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

So, my first love came and departed...and thankfully hadn't dumped me because he was gay. He just didn't want me. We didn't part on particularly good terms. We'd gone out for ice cream and while talking about what I wanted in our relationship, he admitted he didn't see it my way. He started to drive me home, but I decided walking into the house at 8:30pm when I was supposed to be out on a date would only lead to tons of parental questions I didn't want to face.

I had him drop me off at a theatre where I usually worked so I could wait for a friend to finish her job and we'd go out to a club. As I got out of the car, Roddy said, "I'll always love you," which left me with mixed emotions. I could have said, "Me too,"...but I chose to walk away before I smacked him. He dumped me but loved me. Yeah. Right.

Uh-huh. You figure that one out! Luckily, he'd done me a favor. That door had closed, but lots of windows of dating opportunities opened up for me and I had a wonderful time on my journey to finding the right man.

And, I did...almost 38 years ago!

So...any "First Love" stories to share? "Gaydar" mishaps? Leave a comment!

"Strip Poker for Two", by April Ash, is now available at www.ellorascave.com.
Visit my two websites for information about my books:
www.aprilash.net
www.mariannestephens.net

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Interview With Tammie King, Night Owl Romance

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Tammie King, owner/operator of Night Owl Romance, www.nightowlromance.com, a great review, interview, chat, etc., site, chock full of wonderful information for readers and authors of romance fiction!


Marianne/April: What motivated you to get involved in the romance industry and start Night Owl Romance?

Tammie: What a great starter question. I started Night Owl Romance for a few different reasons.


The first reason was to learn a bit about web design. My husband got me Dream Weaver, a web page builder tool and I had to find some topics to start my playing around. Night Owl Romance was one of those themes. I love books and I wanted to tell others about them. Soon the site started to become bigger and bigger. The first year or so was just me posting new books and lists and then in January 2007 I really started to pump up the site with reviews. My husband, Andrew, helped set-up a database for reviews, authors, reviewers, etc., and the review section started expanding. Now we do upwards of 200 reviews a month and have over 35 reviewers who volunteer their time. I do the rest of the site maintenance, review coordination and email correspondence.



M/A: How long did it take to get things set-up and running?

T: It didn't take long. After I got the site started on my computer, my sister and I came up with a name. Karla thought Night Owl was a good idea as we both read well into the night...sometimes it becomes morning. Yes - we do have an addiction. I had to purchase the domain name and my hubby helped me with hosting. So, that took about a week. Since I'm a self-starter and don't have a partner, everything has been pretty easy and done by me. My hubby helps out when he can on the more complicated stuff.



M/A: Describe your perfect hero. Also, would he clean house or cook?

T: Well, my perfect hero is my husband, Andrew. He has made my dreams come true. I'm able to work on NOR and not work outside the house. The site doesn't make much money, but he doesn't complain. He just tells me he loves me every day and is glad I'm happy with what I'm doing. Hmm. Now Andrew doesn't do much housework, but he does quite a bit of the cooking. His meals are great and way better than mine. Maybe he is cooking for self-preservation. ;)



M/A: What's one important thing you've learned about your job and/or one change you've made.

T: I've started to learn that I've got to get away from email a bit. If I don't, it starts to control my life and take over. I could easily work 60 plus hours a week...and often do. Andrew tells me I've got to stop being a slave to email (lol). I agree with him and have tried to give it up a bit.



M/A: Favorite food/drink to have while reading romance books.

T: Well, I enjoy Diet Pepsi. Recently I've started enjoying Wendy's Floats. Mmm - The are nice and creamy.



M/A: Besides romance books, what else do you like to read? Any favorite non-romance book or author?

T: Almost everything I read is romance related. In the past I read fantasy, but now I like my fantasy with lots of romance.



M/A: Finish this sentence: Romance is...

T: Romance is waking up every morning and getting a hug from my hubby.



M/A: You, a handsome hunk, a bottle of champagne, and case of chocolates wash up on a deserted island. What do you do with all these?

T: Just enjoy the day together.




M/A: Do you read a romance book because a cover sparks your interest, the book blurb sounds great, you like the author, or it's a genre you truly enjoy?

T: I normally start out with genre - I really love paranormal, fantasy, historical and erotic romances. In the last few years, I've started reading more erotic romance and lots of ebooks. When I started the site, I was just a print romance reader. Soon readers and authors were introducing me to ebooks and the spicier stuff. The cover is also important and can spike my interest and, of course, if I find an author I like, I seek out her/his stuff.



M/A: Any romantic secrets you'd like to share or something about yourself inquiring minds don't know?

T: No secrets (lol). I do love to travel and have lived in London, England. I used to travel there once a year for fun, but not since I got married. Andrew and I went to Ireland and London for our honeymoon. We both hope to return to London.



M/A: Please add any additional information, including promo stuff, websites, etc., you want people to know about.

T: I hope you all will stop on over at Night Owl Romance, http://www.nightowlromance.com/. We have lots to share and author chats. I know that I and the other girls would love to meet you and provide you with book information. We also have a sister site - http://www.mybookflick.com/ where we have a whole system of romance book videos. There's no need for you to go over to You Tube and stroll through the system looking for the videos. We bring them to you! Authors can also add their first one to the system for free, and that provides lots of variety.


Thanks for having me! :)


And thank you, Tammie, for your great answers!


Be sure to check back here for more interviews!


"Strip Poker for Two", by April Ash, www.ellorascave.com, releases 20 August. Visit http://www.aprilash.net/ AND http://www.mariannestephens.net/ for lots of information on my books!






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