September 16, 2013

Chance Encounters SALE on all platforms! 2 days only!

With each book signing I attend, I'm reminded that you all don't really realize that I wrote anything before The Perfect Game. Trust me. I get it. It's hard to imagine anyone other than JACK F'N CARTER!   :)

But I did.  I wrote TWO books before I wrote TPG.

And I barely ever (not even a handful of times) have put Chance Encounters on sale. But today I did. And it will be .99 cents for the next 48 hours ONLY! 

This is a story about following your heart...especially when it's the hardest thing to do. It's a story about a girl who has to make those tough choices after a chance meeting... a girl who thought she was perfectly happy and content with the path her life was heading down.  Until she met Jackson Parks. He screwed it all up-  her head, her heart, her soul.  It's a story about finding yourself and of doing what's best for you, even when it may not be best for others. Sometimes other hearts have to break in order to keep yours intact. 

I hope you'll go read Caroline's story and fall in love a little.

If you share the post on my author page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheRealJSterling) you'll be automatically entered to win a signed paperback copy of the book! 

Here are the links!


Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k5a2zop

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/mdnfbmu

IBooks: http://tinyurl.com/mxemgty

September 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Leah

The other day I posted one of my original blog posts about Sal Calabro. Today I want to introduce you to Leah Oliver, my birthday twin.  I hope you enjoy getting to know her just as much as I did.  xo


**Originally Posted in 2010**

Two years ago when I originally posted this, I was blessed to have Leah's dad Walter stop by the blog and comment on it. *waves hi to Walter*  Walter, your comment touched me. The fact that you found this blog about your daughter and took the time to talk to me, a stranger.... I can't tell you how much it meant to me.  Thank you for having the strength.

He also alerted me to a couple newer articles about Leah. They're quite beautiful, so I'm sharing them here.
http://www.northjersey.com/news/crime_courts/129434033_Oliver_was_full_of_life__devoted_to_her_family.html?page=all

http://www.baristanet.com/2010/09/reflecting-on-911-in-2010/

Happy Birthday Leah. I wish you were still here to celebrate, my birthday twin. xo  and Walter, if you find this blog again this year-  give yourself a hug from me. A big one.


THIS WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 9/11/2009...

When I first participated in dc roe's 2996 challenge, I got to learn about a brave firefighter named Sal calabro. it was truly my pleasure to honor him, get to know him, and write about him. i was grateful for the project because it introduced me to someone I wouldn't have known otherwise. on that day when so many of our lives were changed forever, he was a hero. and he paid the ultimate price. i can't believe his family has had to live these past 8 years without him. it breaks my heart.

When dc sent out the email that he was doing the project again, I signed up without hesitation. and this time, I got Leah E. Oliver.

The first thing I noticed about Leah was that we shared the same birthday. September 12th... the day after "the day." I stopped for a moment before I read any further about her to just kind of appreciate the randomness (and not so randomness) of it all. What was the likelihood that the person I would get to write about would share the same birthday as me?

The more I read about Leah, the more I found myself smiling and thinking that we would have totally been friends. Everyone said the same things about her. How warm she was... her amazing smile.. she made everyone feel welcome.. she was always positive and smiling and happy. Everyone who knew her talked about how much they loved her and her laugh. What a great way to be remembered.... always happy. I can only hope to be so lucky.

Leah Oliver

I don't think you'd guess by this gorgeous picture of her, but she loved to go on motorcycle rides with her dad. A passion that they shared with one another. There is a memorial page up for Leah where her father has written the sweetest most heartbreaking letter to his only daughter. the following is part of what he wrote:

"Life is about not knowing. Surely the last few weeks have proved that to all of us. But bringing Leah into this world is one thing I know for certain I’ve done absolutely right in my life. I love all my children equally, and I’m equally proud of each of them. Leah was just that little bit special because she was my first. As oldest children often do, Leah marched through life with a sense of purpose, determined to be successful. And she exceeded my expectations all along the way."


Leah grew up in Dartmouth, Massachusetts and went to college at Columbia university. it seems like Leah's life was just getting started. She had a new boyfriend (in an old friend) and had recently started working at Marsh & McLennan in the world trade center. She couldn't wait to show her mom the view from the 96th floor.
The 96th floor.
I guess you can only imagine how and why she didn't make it out that day. She loved her co-workers and felt like she had the job of her dreams. Things were falling into place for this 24 year old.

24.

Never to turn 25 because the following day would not come for her.

She left behind so many family members who miss her. A boyfriend who has had to move on without her when he thought he was going to spend the rest of his life with her. It's hard for me to write about someone who was so young and whose life was just getting started. Because you read about the person they were and you want so much more for them. You know how much they could have had and then you get angry that all of that was taken away. Imagine how I'd feel if I had the pleasure to actually know Leah in real life??

September 11th still hurts. Sometimes I think I'm ready to deal with certain aspects of it. Like a TV special about 9/11 will be on and I'll record it so that I can watch it later at my own pace. But then I'll go to turn it on, and within the first 30 seconds, I'm already in tears and I can't take it. I'm not ready. It's still too raw. And it's been 8 years. and I didn't even know anyone who lost their life that day personally. (i know people who knew people) It wasn't right. It wasn't fair. And it breaks my heart to know how much my life has changed since that day, and I wasn't even directly affected. So many other people have had to live each day since without their loved ones in their life. And all I can say is that I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that Sal's boys have had to grow up with only a memory for a father. I'm so sorry that Leah's family has to go on without her. I'm sorry she never got to have her 25th birthday. but I can promise you that I will forever think of her on our day from here on out.

there is a scholarship set up in her name... there are tributes to her where you can read more about her. I wish I could have known her.. but I'm glad this project introduced me to her. And now to you.

September 10, 2013

Remembering Sal Calabro

Before I started writing fiction, I blogged for fun. I participated in this huge celebration of life in memory of all the victims of 9/11.  I still can't believe that day happened. It's still hard to watch anything about that morning.
My heart still aches, my stomach still clenches, my eyes still water. It doesn't get easier. At least not for me. 

I wanted to take the time to repost what I wrote all those years ago. Because it's important to me that these people be remembered. And that we don't forget how it felt to live through that day. And so we don't forget the people who didn't get to come home.

xo

**Originally posted in 2006**

It's been 5 years since the attacks on the World Trade Center. 5 years. September 11th has affected me in too many ways to count. Too many ways to truly even begin expressing in writing, words, or otherwise. I'll try to sum it up by saying it's something that is never very far from my mind. I will never forget how I felt that morning. My drive to work... blinding myself with tears that wouldn't stop falling. I specifically remember looking to my right at the car passing me and him just looking at me, with total concern in his eyes. And then sitting at work glued to the television, wondering what the fuck I was doing there.
The pain.
The horror.
The emotions.
Everything about that day comes screaming back to me in an instant if I let it.

I know people are tired of reliving this day. They want to move on. But what about those who lives were forever changed, more than yours or mine were? How do you balance moving on, with remembering? And when do you get to the point that watching a special about 9/11, or seeing pictures, or hearing voices of the now dead- doesn't bring you to tears? When does it become something you can talk about without having an emotional breakdown? Does it ever?

They say that time heals, and in my life I've always found that to be true... until now. Because to me, 9/11/2001 is just as real today, as it was then. I'm having trouble putting it into the past. It's like there's this hole inside of me that just stays raw and full of so much intense emotion. And that's where everything about this day resides and lives. Just as alive now, as it was then. I have no idea when or if that will ever change.

When i chose to participate in dc's 2996 project- I had no idea what I was truly getting into. Sure, I would be given a name of a "victim" from that day to write about. but I had no idea how much I'd come to learn about one person I'd never heard of before. And now, I just wish I'd gotten the chance to know him in life, instead of the opposite. I am leaving this up for a few days because I really want it to sink in. Sal was a person you could have known. he could have been your neighbor, your friend, your coach, your local fireman, etc. He was all of those things to many people. And now he's gone. The least I can do is allow everyone the time to actually read about him and get to know him while you deal with your own emotions about 9/11.

So this is for Sal- and everyone who knew him.. and those of us who didn't get the chance.



Sal was 38 years old and just finishing his shift when the attack began on the WTC in new york city. he cancelled plans he had just made with a friend to work out, turned his car around and headed back to the firehouse. Once there, he jumped on his firetruck heading towards the destruction. That's just the kind of man he was. He didn't run from chaos.. he ran to it... to help ease it. Sal had been part of Ladder 101 for 14 years, since he first started working as a fireman. That firehouse was a second home to him. All of his co-workers, brothers. The entire Ladder Company was lost that day. 7 guys just vanished into the rubble; to never be heard from or seen again. The group of guys from that ladder company are now referred to as the "Seven in Heaven." Sal was one of them.

A proud American, you could often find Sal watching specials about World War II and the Vietnam War on the History Channel. Growing up with his older brother, they would often fight about who would get to go to war (if there was one) and who would stay home with their single mother. It seemed that the only time Sal questioned defending the nation, was when his mom was involved. When she passed away, he got his only tattoo on his left shoulder, in her memory.

Like most firefighters, Sal loved his job. But he loved his family more. His greatest joy in life was watching his 2 young sons grow up. He coached the T-Ball team, and when he couldn't be there, he would call his wife multiple times daily to see how they were doing and what they were up to.
"He was an unbelievable dad," Mrs. Calabro said. "I can't explain it. My kids would always look for him before they would look for me. When they got hurt, they wanted their daddy."Sal and his wife met as teenagers in a grocery store where they both worked. They'd been together ever since and were married on September 16, 1989.

Sal was a beloved firefighter. His catch phrase was "You're the best!" Whenever he would say it, people would respond back with, "No Sal, you're the best!"
"The guys on the job loved him," Mrs. Calabro said. "Since he was there for 14 years, they called the firehouse 'Sal's House.' They said he was the heart and soul of Ladder 101."

Now the "heart and soul" of Ladder 101 only exists in memories, on memorial walls, in framed photographs, and in the hearts and soul of those he touched and loved. The man who once described heroes as "people who knowingly and willingly enter a peril situation and lay down their lives for other people" has become just that. A hero by his own definition. And mine as well.
Rest In Peace Salvatore Calabro. And thank you for letting me get to know a true hero.
this website has a lot of information about the Seven in Heaven and is where i found the majority of my information and pictures about Sal.

i am adding in this poem that Salvatore's wife wrote to him.. i just found it, so forgive me for adding it so late.
i found this poem here... please click the link, because maybe the person you're blogging about has a love letter as well.
Salvatore CalabroTuesday, 1/7/2003
A Conversation With Sal
Often I dream of a conversation with you.
I tell you I love you, and wish 9/11 wasn't true.
What the hell did happen?
Do you believe it yourself?
I'm still in shock, and don't know what to do with myself.
You needed to know about history and war,
Did you know you'd be part of such violence and gore?
What would you say? Are you OK where you are?
You remain in my heart, and are never too far.
I hope you have everything you didn't have in this life.
I hope you forgive me for my shortcomings as a wife?
The world has gone crazy. Nothing is the same.
I want to keep you alive -- let everyone know your name!
Sal Calabro -- my husband, a father, a hero he is.
The flag now in vogue was a fashion statement of his.
In my sleep we do visit. No words do I hear.
I understand you are with me -- your smile says don't fear.
People think I am crazy, your signs I do see.
Moths, numbers and birds are messages for me.
Help me and guide me in raising our boys.
They need to remember you and all of the joys.
Their lives are filled with sadness. You were their best friend.
Please protect and guide them 'til the very end.
We have all changed. Life isn't the same any more.
I hope you will meet me when I come through that door.
Until then I'll always love you!
Keep letting me know that you are here.
And I will let you be remembered --my love and my dear.

The father of two is remembered in this letter written by his wife, Francine.

September 3, 2013

You can win a kindle Paperwhite from Amazon during the Seattle Signing!

This is pretty cool if I do say so myself. And clearly, I do.  :)  If you're coming to the Seattle Signing this weekend, keep on reading!!!!
 
*taken from the Seattle Event Fan Page on Facebook*

 Hello Readers!

We're only a few days away from the Seattle Signing Event at the Westin! And, to get you further excited... we have a NEW giveaway!...

The folks at Amazon Publishing are giving away a KINDLE PAPERWHITE to one lucky fan during the event!

THE RULES:

Any time on Saturday, the day of the event, post a picture of the Event to this
Facebook Fan Page and/or
to Twitter and/or
to Instagram using the hashtag #SeattleAuthorEvent.

There are no rules other than that!
 
We want to see you, the authors, the line, your swag, the bookseller, the world is your oyster! Snap away! Each photo is an entry! Remember, the only rule is you HAVE to use the hashtag #SeattleAuthorEvent. (Or we won't be able to find you =)).

We will go through the posts on all three sites and I will announce the winner at the front entrance to the Event Room at 3PM. (I will also post to this page as well.)

Let's see what your hashtagging selves are made of!

Cheers~*~
Emily