The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Monday, December 4, 2017

The First Birthday Without PaPa

Today would have been PaPa's 85th birthday. It's weird because he always said he'd never make it to 85, and he didn't. But I always thought he would. To me, he was invincible. He could do anything--move mountains, climb skyscrapers, anything. He was my PaPa, and I, his Babydoll, adored him.


It's been almost five months since he passed, and I still can't utter his name without choking up. I still can't stand to look at pictures because it still hurts too much. Even though I know he's not coming back, I find myself gazing at "his" chair in his office and at his house and wishing he'd just magically appear there. In fact, I get a little ruffled under the feathers if someone sits there because it's PaPa's chair.


Deek and I were talking recently about when people die and how the people left here are keepers of their memories. And I cried wondering when my generation and the one after me--those who experienced the greatness of PaPa--are gone, who will remember him? I don't want the wonderfulness that is him to fade. And Deek told me that every time I show love, mercy, gratefulness, and generosity, I'm spreading PaPa's spirit to the world. They may not remember him personally, but he'll still leave his mark when I'm kind because he was and someone else is kind because I was. In that same way, PaPa himself spread the light and love of his parents and grandparents to me even though I never knew them.


It's not the same, but it's something. It's a way for me to keep PaPa's memory alive past him, past me, past the generation behind me. I'll tell a few more jokes. Try to live in the present more rather than focus on the future. I'll hug my people every time I see them. I'll pursue my passions and dreams with more gusto. I'll put my nose to the grindstone and work even harder. I'll do my best to show the traits I learned from PaPa, and in doing so, you'll know him a little too. And maybe after I share joke, you'll tell it at a get together, and when people laugh, PaPa will be there. And someone else will tell that same joke, and the cycle continues. Man, PaPa did love a joke. I can still hear his laughter in my head and in my heart.


PaPa had five wonderful brothers and a lovely sister. I can still see each one of their faces and hear their voices in my mind. They understood the meaning of family, and they taught it to all of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I don't want any of them to fade. So, I'm going to post a picture and list all their names so there's a record. And when you see them, I want you to think of your own family--your mother, your brother, your wife, your child--and I want you do something today that shows them you love them. And when you do, these seven people will be there, smiling and laughing because family was everything to them.

Top row, left to right: Stacy, Ed, Harold
Bottom row, left to right: Darwin (PaPa), Wendell, John (aka: Bunky), and Eldred

I love you, PaPa. I miss you, and I always will. I know they say "time heals all wounds" and all that, but I don't think I'll ever really get over losing you. I will, however, do my best to make you proud and keep your spirit alive now and in the future.

Happy Birthday! 




Friday, November 24, 2017

Looking For A Gift?

Would you sacrifice everything for love?



A life must be lost. Who will make the ultimate sacrifice? 

Lawson lives a simple life: a job at a brewery, and his basketball and hockey leagues. Even his eccentric lifelong friend and roommate—who is intent on discovering time travel—doesn’t complicate things. Then Jory appears. Lawson feels an immediate attraction to her, yet their attempts at dating end with him thinking it just isn’t meant to be. But Jory refuses to give up. 

When one date ends tragically, Lawson turns to his best friend and the experimental time travel program he’s invented. But, no matter what he does, each time the reset ends with a loss. 

It’s clear…a life must be lost, and Lawson is prepared to give his for Jory. But he isn’t the only one playing with time. 

Will he spare Jory by forfeiting his own life? Or will someone else make the ultimate sacrifice?

Buy now:

Excerpt:

Chapter 1
“So you’re going for the stalker approach, I see.”
Lawson sighed and shifted his gaze to the table. Der- rick was a jerk, but he was also right.
“She just moved here from Washington.”
Despite himself, Lawson raised an eyebrow and prompted for more information from his boss. Their boss. “State or DC?”
“State. Some small town east of the Cascades. I don’t remember the name.” Derrick took a big bite of his ham- burger and only half chewed it before continuing. “She at- tended Central Washington University, but didn’t graduate. She was going for a B.S. in Craft Brewing. That’s the main reason she got the job. She’s qualified. The fact that she’s smoking hot is just a bonus.”
Lawson cringed. “Pretty sure admitting that you find her attractive is verging on illegal, dude.”
Derrick shrugged. “Probably. Hell, not finding you at- tractive could probably get me in trouble these days.”
Lawson snorted. His gaze wandered to Jory one more time. He’d barely said three words to her in the few days she’d worked at the brewery. Her beauty intimidated him, making him stammer like a pubescent teen. He seemed to be the only one having that problem. She sat at a table with three guys from bottling and a girl from the office. The guys looked like total vultures, with beady eyes and hunching postures as if ready to pounce. But Jory appeared oblivious. She laughed at their stories and seemed to share her own.
Why the hell was he sitting with Derrick instead of at that table? He should have sat down with them when he came into the break room. It would’ve been natural. Instead, he slumped his big, bulky body into the corner like the stalker Derrick accused him of being. The light that glinted off her auburn waves when she tossed her head back to laugh made his fingers itch. The long line of her neck taunt- ed him: I know you want to taste me.
Curling his hands into fists, he tipped his head forward so that his chin length hair made a curtain between them and focused on his plate of food, deciding to finish his lunch fast and get the hell back to work.
Derrick took a healthy swig of his beer and slammed the pint down on the table with determination. “I’m gonna ask her out.”
Lawson’s throat went dry, and he almost choked. He forced his bite of food down before replying. “You can’t, dude. You’re her boss. You can’t date her.”
“We just won’t tell anyone.” “You just told me.” “Are you gonna run to the big wigs and tell them?” “Well, no. But...” He wanted to come up with a compelling argument against Derrick asking Jory out. Derrick was good looking and made more money, and he had some weird charm that girls seemed to fall for all the time. If the risk of losing his job wasn’t threat enough, Lawson was screwed. “Dude, I’d hate to see you go.”
Derrick laughed. “I guess it would be pretty stupid of me to put my job in jeopardy. It’s a sweet gig.”
Lawson nodded, hopeful.
“Maybe I’ll fire her.”
Buy now:

About the author:



***Straight to the heart***

LA Dragoni isn’t too particular about who falls in love or where they fall in love. She simply considers it her job to capture the story about their love. Whether it’s paranormal, mythical, or time travel, LA will be there to divine their story for you. She lives in Central Oregon with her husband and children, but haunts ghost towns and cemeteries up and down the west, in search of the next adventure to sift through her storytelling brain. Learn more about LA and her work at ladragoni.com

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving and Loss

This year has been a pretty tough one. First, my dad had quadruple bypass in January and struggled to get off the breathing machine. In July, my beloved PaPa passed away unexpectedly. He'd been sick the summer before but had been feeling really great lately, so his death caught us all off guard. And again in November, someone else in my family passed away very tragically.

So grateful to have my dad still kicking and healthier than he was before the surgery.

This girl will always have a PaPa sized hole in her heart.

This year has taught me a deeper understanding of thankfulness. I've always considered myself a thankful person. I'm not constantly striving for something new or wishing I had something I don't. I'm content in my life and so incredibly blessed by the people in it.

This is just a *small* sample of the people in my family 
(and these are only the ones on my generational level)

But I've kinda drifted along thinking the people in my life were invincible. My daddy and my PaPa have always been there. But this year, for a while, I really thought my dad might leave this world, and for reals, PaPa did. And it's weird to think I'm old enough to have the people in my life go, but I guess I am.

In truth, I was fortunate to have known my great-grandparents and grandparents. It wasn't until my 20s that my great-grandmother passed away. In fact, in my family, we had five living generations at once. A lot of people don't get that opportunity. I *know* I'm fortunate to have gotten the years I got.

Me, Mom, Mema, and MaMa (great-grandma)

If I missed an Easter or Thanksgiving, Mema used to always say, "What if this is PaPa's last Easter/Thanksgiving?" And while the thought shook me, I never really thought that any holiday would be PaPa's last. Because he was PaPa. Big, loud, larger than life. 

But it was. This past Easter was PaPa's last Easter. Last Thanksgiving *was* PaPa's last Thanksgiving. 

PaPa's last Thanksgiving--2016.
Oh what I'd give to hug his neck again this year.

PaPa's last Easter
Thumbs up, Papa!

So, I'll walk into Thanksgiving with my big ole Southern family and cherish every moment, every memory just a little bit more because this year has taught me just how fragile life really is. This time, I'll experiencing thankfulness punctuated by loss, and it's something just a little bit deeper than regular gratitude.

Remember to hold those you love just a little closer. Remember to really be present in the moment with your family. Make memories you can hold onto for a lifetime. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am for this wonderful man!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Anniversary Joy

Hey, y'all! This month is an exciting one because it's mine and Deek's anniversary month! Well, one of them at least. LOL! Yep, we got married twice (once on each coast since we're from opposite coasts).

Wedding #1 -- PNW

Wedding #2 -- Southern

I was thinking today about "new" love versus "older" love, and I think older love gets a bad rap. Everyone talks about the euphoria of new love and how the butterflies are everything. Fairytales end at the wedding or final get together moment, but no one shows the after. Probably because they think watching the Prince go to work while Cinderella takes care of the kids (or visa versa or watching them both go to work), watching them pay bills or attend a concert, or watching them participate in "regular life" isn't very exciting. But by not seeing the married Prince and Cinderella, you're missing out on the best part. On the love that comes with a long-term relationship.

Erin and Deek -- the early days

You see, there's something amazing that develops the longer you're with the right person. A deep, more profound love that blows new, euphoric love out of the water.

Erin and Deek now

While it's not nearly as flashy as that falling in love feeling, there's something special about hearing someone say a certain phrase, turning to your partner, and sharing that smile because it reminds you of a joke known only between the two of you. There's something about coming home with news--good or bad--and knowing you have someone to share it with. There's something about saying, "Remember when we..." and having someone to reminisce with. There's something about having another person know exactly what you want or need and being there to provide it and being able to do that for them.

Life is in those little moments. Everyone thinks life and love happen in the big moments, but they don't. They're found in the every day. Cooking dinner together. Dancing in the kitchen. Laughing about something silly while you're getting ready for work. Sitting in bed sipping coffee and talking about the day ahead. Holding hands during a walk. Lying in one another's arms after a long day. Knowing that you have a person--your person, the person--who'll ride the ups and the downs of life by your side, hand in hand.

Our greatest desire as humans is to be known--truly known--and loved. True love comes from understanding someone at their core, at their innermost being. It's knowing all the ugly things about them, in addition to all the beautiful things, and saying, "Given everything that I know, I still love you. I still want to be with you. You, above anyone else."


The longer you're together, the more you know about each other. You can't hide your bad side, your quirks, or your faults when you live with someone and do life with them. Everything comes out. But to have all your bad parts exposed and to have your partner still gaze upon you like you're the most wonderful thing they've ever seen...that's older love. That's precious, rare, genuine, and priceless.


Given what I know about Deek, I love him more now than I did then. Every single day, I love him just a little bit more. I'm not exactly sure how that happens, but it does. He is truly the very best person I know. He's genuine, loving, witty, brilliant, hardworking, tenacious, giving, and thoughtful. I could keep going, but then this blog would be lightyears long. ;) 

But I say all that to say I understand him at his core, at the innermost part of his being, and I'm deeply in love with him. I know him. I know his good and his bad (and he knows mine). And given that, I'd still choose him--every day, every moment, always and forever. 


Happy Anniversary, my beloved! Thank you for loving me when I'm at my best and when I'm at my worst. Thank you for taking the time to see deep into my soul and for loving what you see. Thank you for treating me like I'm the most precious thing you've ever encountered and making sure I always know how much you love me. Thank you for always making time for "us," no matter what else is happening in our lives. Thank you for this wonderful life--this precious, rare, priceless love that comes after the fairytale. Because this part is the real fairytale. 

I love you, Deek! Now and always. Here's to many more in this lifetime and in the beyond! 

Being with Deek still makes me feel like dancing

He's so romantic!

This is how we look at each other, and I love that!

#Always





Sunday, October 29, 2017

It's Fall, Y'all!

<blinks and looks around, confused> Hello, everyone! I've emerged from the editing cave and am back for a brief stint between projects. It's nice to be here with you lovely folks, especially since the Chicago Manual of Style and Merriam-Webster have been my constant companions lately. Y'all are way more interesting. ;)


So, you know I love summer. I'm a summer girl through and through (give me warm beaches any day). But I do enjoy the beautiful colors and the activities of fall, particularly in October. I have set down my trusty style guides a few times this month to participate in some of the festivities.

First up, Deek and I bought tickets to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul 2 Soul tour over a year ago. We bought them before our 2nd anniversary to celebrate our 3rd anniversary (see how forward thinking we are? LOL!). For those who don't remember our wedding posts, Tim and Faith sing "our" song, and we couldn't pass up the chance to see them sing it in person!! Needless to say, we've held on to these tickets and anticipated the event for a looonnnngg time. And it *finally* came.

At the concert. We were *so* excited!!

Steve Moakler opened for Tim and Faith.
He co-wrote the song "Riser," and he sang it that night. 
We loved it so much and thought it very much went with us and our personalities. 

He sold the song rights to Dierks Bentley. If you haven't heard it, I totally recommend the listen!

Steve asked everyone to light their phones during a ballad. 
The WHOLE stadium lit up in this amazing way. SO beautiful!
Steve said it was the single best moment of his performance career so far.

They sang "our" song.
I may have cried and cheered my little heart out.
I am SO thankful to be married to this wonderful man, and I love celebrating our love!

Our "we saw Tim and Faith" faces...

Deek and I have been able to sneak away from our deadlines and have fun on a few dates too! 

We walked and talked, hand in hand, for about 6 miles.
So nice to get out in nature, clear the mind, and recenter.

Gorgeous scenery.

Who needs a pint of beer when you can have a pint of bacon??

And we went to one of my most favorite events in the world...the State Fair! 

On the bus to the fair!
I'm so freakin' excited!

Deek is Superman.
Shhhhh....

Selfies at a local radio booth!

Clearly, we're not cut out for beekeeping!

Lately, I'm obsessed with the Day of the Dead stuff.
How awesome is this cake?!?

Y'all, I can't tell you how thankful I am that I get to share this life with Deek. He's always excited to participate in all type of event, and we always have the very best time together. Dates and experiences don't have to cost a lot, or anything at all, to be fun. It's all about time spent with the person you love. I adore that Deek understands that and makes the most out of every moment we have together. I love you, my Deek! Now and #always! 



And the festivities keep continuing, so stay tuned!! Next time, I'll talk about parties and festivals! Until then, stay boo-tiful and creep it real! <3

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Crystal Coast Con 2017

This year, we headed down to the Crystal Coast to participate in our second year of Crystal Coast Con!! We love everything about this con--the people who run it, the people who attend it, the unique venue, and the beach! Over the last year, we've been to a lot of cons, and we always compare them to Crystal Coast Con! ;)

Come see what we love so much...

On the way there, we stopped for a little beach time.
Hubba hubba...that driver! ;) 

Deek and I were thrilled to put our toes in the sand!

Gorgeous sunset!

This is the face you make when you're supposed to be eating paleo, but the Dunkin Donuts next door touts Maple Bacon Sandwiches...

Deek got to set up his new banner! WOOT! Awesome job, Anita!

Let's talk about fantasy!!

Team Tenacious right here! 
Two Tenacious Books Publishing authors together again!
Deek Rhew and Chrissy Lessey

Y'all, we met Denise Crosby. For those of you who are Trekkies, you'll recognize this beauty as Tasha Yar!! Let me tell you, she's classy, kind, and very personable. I'm so thankful to have met her!

I love how much Deek loves comic cons. He's like a kid in a candy store! LOL!

This guy's ready for a fight!

The force is strong in this one.

Babylon 5!

Storm Troopers in da house!

Can you get over this costume!??!

I have always loved trolls...

A female Maui workin' it! 

Aren't our book bundles purty?

Cons are FUN but tiring, so Deek and I were so grateful that MacDaddy's provided us with our very own carafe of coffee!! I think that's my third cup...

Getting close to the end of the day. We're tired, but we're having a blast!

The lady who keeps our pup while we're at cons texted a picture of him on his walk.
<squeezey heart>

End of con Snapchat shenanigans...

Since the con is only one day, we got to enjoy the beach again before we headed home!

This is THE beach where Deek proposed, so we reenacted the "after proposal" kiss.
Hey, I'll take any reason to smooch with my handsome hubby!!

A hurricane was a long way off shore, but it made the water do crazy things!

I love the beach! One day, Deek and I *will* live there...

This man, y'all. This man.
I am stoked and blessed beyond belief to get to do life with this wonderful, funny, talented, loving, amazing man! 

We hope to see you at Crystal Coast Con 2018 next year!! Cool guests, the beach, and a fun venue...what more could you ask for?

Until then, geek on!