My First Byline in ‘The Happy Times Monthly,’ (Happy Herald)

My First Byline in ‘The Happy Times Monthly,’ (Happy Herald)

Someone once said that the only reason to look back is to see how far you’ve come. In terms of my writing and publishing career, I just realized it has been 20 years since my first article was published in a local South Florida paper known as ‘The Happy Times Monthly,’ now the Happy Herald.

Back then, the internet was not as advanced as it is today and believe it or not, I didn’t even own a personal computer. I actually typed the article on a typewriter and snail-mailed it to Founder/Publisher Brigitte Lang, after a good friend suggested I should start putting a writing portfolio together. Funny thing is, weeks went by and I never heard anything back from Brigitte. Then, one hot summer day in Boca Raton, another girlfriend called me to share the news that she’d just been in Whole Foods and had seen my headline article (along with the photo I’d submitted) in a stack of free papers. She was nearly out of breath, she was so excited. Having known about my brother Ralph, she was thrilled to see his story in print.

Not only had I finally been published, but my first article was chosen to be the headline. And, although it had not been my motive for writing it, the piece captured the attention of someone else – the man on whom Ken is based in Water Signs. When he saw it, he called the newspaper for my number to congratulate me. Since Brigitte maintains an excellent policy of keeping her contributor’s phone numbers private, she took his name and number and promised to share the information with me. Which she did.

I described the mixed emotions I felt back then in the novel, especially upon discovering Ken was now a father to a baby girl. On one hand, I appreciated the pride he expressed in me, knowing it had been a lifelong dream; on the other, I relived the pain of what had happened, mainly because of an inability to communicate. Ironic, I know.

Anyway, fast-forward about 11 years later, and this real-life event became a pivotal scene in Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal:

Beneath the headline ‘My Brother – My Hero,’ and the byline bearing the author’s name, Madeline and Louis smiled back at him, seated at a round dining table. Wow. She’d finally achieved her goal of becoming a published writer. He well remembered the endless conversations, by the ocean, snuggled up on the couch, or wrapped up under the satin sheets of his waterbed, during which Maddy would eloquently share her dreams for the future. In spite of everything, he still missed that connection.

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Writestream Tuesday: Down Syndrome Awareness and the Right Wing Riot – UPDATED

Did you know October is also Down Syndrome Awareness Month?

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In honor of the occasion, I am hosting a very special Writestream Tuesday on October 14 at 1 p.m. Eastern. During the first hour I’ll talk about my wonderful brother Ralph and the amazing impact he’s had not just on my own life but the lives of countless others who have been blessed to know him. I also encourage listeners to call in with their personal stories of special folks in their lives with Down Syndrome at (347) 945-7246.

Back in the day: Ralph and me engaging in one of our favorite childhood rituals.

Back in the day: Ralph and me engaging in one of our favorite childhood rituals.

And because I am not one to shy away from controversy and hard realities, I’ll also discuss the depressing statistics with respect to Down Syndrome: 90% of unborn babies found to have Down Syndrome are aborted. That is a tragic, sobering fact – one I refuse to ignore. So while this will mainly be an uplifting show, I’d be remiss if I neglected to address it.

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In the second hour, stay tuned for public service satire with the Right Wing Riot featuring the Luminaries of Liberty – Scary Smart, Ms. Always Right and The Prince of Whitebread.

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Click on this link to Writestream Tuesday: Down Syndrome Awareness and the Right Wing Riot to listen online or call (347) 945-7246 to listen by phone.  See you then!

 

UPDATE: Happy to announce that Tears of Paradox author Daniella Bova will be joining me in the first hour!

 

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Happy Birthday, Ralph!

Today is my brother Ralph’s 55th birthday. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since we celebrated his 50th with a Hollywood-themed birthday bash, but here we are. If you’re new to the blog and don’t know his story, click to read ‘A Little Down Syndrome.’ 

Celebrating my brother Ralph's 50th in 2009.

Celebrating Ralph’s 50th in 2009.

Ralph’s story is filled with real-life heroes beginning with my mother and father, and extended family. It’s an example of the miracles that occur when individuals possess real love, commitment, determination, resolve, and faith in God. In today’s superficial world of “designer babies,” abortion on demand (mainly for convenience), and self-absorption, is it any wonder that 90% of unborn babies discovered to have Down syndrome are aborted? What a tragic statistic. How ironic that medical advancement designed to improve health and healthcare for human beings has resulted in a death sentence for those deemed “unworthy” of life?

Ralph with nieces Sophia (left) and Julianna celebrating his 50th.

Ralph with nieces Sophia (left) and Julianna.

I’m certainly grateful for Ralph’s loving presence in mine. Happy Birthday to the most loving, inspiring, and beautiful soul I know!

 

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Happy 54th Birthday, Ralph!

Celebrating my brother Ralph's 50th in 2009.

Celebrating my brother Ralph’s 50th in 2009.

I have a very special, amazing and inspiring brother, appropriately named Raphael (although we call him Ralph) after our maternal grandfather and the Archangel of Healing. To readers of my blog and everyone who knows him in real life, Ralph’s story is a heart-warmer. I first wrote about it for a local paper, The Happy Herald, back in 1997 and updated the feature a few years ago on this blog. Hard to believe it’s already four years since we celebrated his BIG 5-0 with a bash at Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania but time flies when you’re having fun!

Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to spend lots of quality time with Ralph, who’s still thriving in spite of a few obstacles and loving his WWE, bowling, movies and gambling at Harrah’s Philadelphia! I often remind him that he’s a healer in the tradition of his grandfather (a pharmacist) and the Archangel Raphael. A smile, a hug, a kind word from Ralph (and he always has all of these at the ready) can boost your spirits and improve your mood instantly.

In a world obsessed with superficiality, endless youth, bling, and excess, Ralph is grounding, loving force. He still gives the very best “huggies” and remains the biggest testament to the power of faith, the human spirit and the purpose of this earthly life that I know. I have been blessed to be his little sister and to be a part of such an honorable, moral, strong and loving family.

Happy 54th Birthday, Ralph — I love you!

 

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