Today’s the Day! My Women, Words and Wisdom story. When I first heard about the topic, I had no doubt what I was going to write about . . . my mom and the lessons she taught me.
Actually, one lesson in particular — That you could accomplish anything in life if you worked hard enough and never gave up.
My mom knew about never giving up. When she lived in Cuba, she didn’t like Batista so she helped make a change. When that change didn’t work out the way she envisioned, she tried to undo what she had done. That forced her into exile, but worse yet, had her making a very difficult decision — ending up in jail or leaving her two young daughters behind in Cuba while she fled to the United States.
When I mean young, I really mean young. I was just over two years old and my little sister was six months old. Even before I was old enough to have a child of my own, I understood how difficult a choice that must have been. Your life or leaving behind the things you loved most.
But my mom did it. And in the years that followed, she not only taught my sister and I that we could accomplish anything we wanted, she showed us by doing the same. She worked hard, struggling against a lot of odds back in the early sixties.
For starters, people didn’t want Cubans in their apartment buildings or neighborhoods even though they loved watching Ricky and Lucy. That kind of acceptance was mostly on the television tube. Mostly because there were some very kind people as well. Kindness overcame intolerance, a lesson also learned.
Mom was a working woman, something more common in the Sixties than in the Fifties, but certainly not as common as it is today. Worse, she was a woman in a man’s world — the legal profession.
But she persevered and worked hard. She pursued and obtained the American Dream — a house in the suburbs, car and college for her kids. Education was something she firmly believed in for her children because she believed, as had her dad, that they can take everything you own away from you, but they can’t take what’s in your mind. That’s yours forever.
So by example and by word, mom tattooed in my brain to never give up and always work hard. It’s something that’s served me well in my life. When things don’t necessarily go my way, I stop and ask myself, “Is this something I really want? Is this what’s best for me and my family?”
If the answer is yes — I go for it. Wholeheartedly and with every fiber of my being. Some say I’m mad crazy driven and they’re probably right. I’m my mother’s daughter and I know that I can accomplish anything that I desire if I persevere.
In the publishing world, that’s an especially good attitude. My friend Lara Rios blogged during the tour about Wisdom Applied to Writing and had Persistence as a necessary trait for writers as well as for all other aspects of your life. So true.
Persistence. Perseverance. Couple them with hard work. It equals Heart to me. It’s what keeps you always reaching for your dreams.
So I leave you those thoughts today from a very wise woman — my mom. I also have a special gift to you from me and from another friend who understands the words persistence and perseverance — Berta Platas.
Long before Indiana Jones found the Crystal Skull, six remarkable women came together and became the Skull Sisters. I had been working on this concept with some good friends and Berta and I were on the verge of selling the Skull Sisters series when the publisher decided to close the line!
Perseverance, I tell myself. We haven’t given up hope that one day this series will be acquired. For now, enjoy some action and adventure with some totally kick-ass heroines and the mystical crystal skulls. Be sure to pop over to Berta’s Blogspot to read from her story in the series!
Don’t forget that coupled with those thoughts, we’ve got a contest going on! Leave a message on this blog to win a prize of a complete collection of the SOUTH BEACH CHICAS books as well as a HOLIDAY WITH A VAMPIRE color t-shirt!
And don’t forget to check out all the other stops on the tour for their stories and prizes (look at the end of this post for the other stops!). I hope you enjoy reading from all these amazing women.
So last but not least, here’s the extra special Women, Words and Wisdom Free read — an excerpt from Book One in the Skull Sisters series! You can visit www.skullsisters.com for more info on the series.
Sara Mendoza had taken no more than a step or two from the temple excavation when an explosion rocked the structure behind her.
She hurtled through the air, arms and legs flailing. A huge fireball from the detonation chased after her. As she neared her objective — a strategically placed crash mat — Sara tucked tight, preparing to absorb the blow from the landing. At the speed she traveled, the mat could be as hard as cement.
Her shoulder connected with the foam, but she maintained her natural momentum by rolling. Then that sixth sense that had served her so well in the past kicked in. Something was different from the earlier rehearsals.
Flattening instead of continuing with her controlled tumble, Sara raised her hand in anticipation of the blow. A tingle danced along her fingertips a second before sizzling heat skimmed along her body. A large piece of fiery debris sailed past her. With a dull thud, part of the scaffolding from around the excavation landed only a few feet away. It was a section that shouldn’t have come off the set.
The trio of pullers who had been busy helping her fly through the air thanks to the harness at her waist now quickly rushed forward with fire extinguishers to keep the crash mat from igniting.
Sara rose and stretched to work a kink out of her back. Reaching behind her, she undid the shackle which attached the cable to the harness beneath her shirt. Seeing that her co-workers had things under control, she hurried toward the trailer reserved for the stunt crew’s use. The RV was set quite a ways back from the temple built by the film crew in the Puerto Rican jungle.
She had one more scene to shoot today. She needed to mentally prepare and eventually change into the duplicate wardrobe that matched what the heroine of the movie would later be wearing. Plus — although she would deny it if anyone
asked — she was a little shaken about how close she had come to being pancaked by the flaming piece of the set.
“That was awesome, Sara. Way cool,” said the new assistant, a young man who was more boy than man and hoped to break into the business.
She forced a smile while they walked along and the assistant continued to carry on about her luck during her recent exploit. Her past luck during such feats had made her famous throughout the industry. No stunt was too hard or too dangerous for Sara Mendoza. The amazing part was that after nearly four years in the business, she was still in one piece, uninjured except for the occasional minor bump, bruise or road rash.
She snapped her hand up to silence the overeager assistant. “Gracias, Billy. Let’s just concentrate on the next one.” She hated the talk. Not that she was superstitious, but acknowledging her luck was almost like tempting the gods to remind her that she was human. Humans broke and bled and worse.
Right now soreness gradually awakened in the shoulder that had absorbed the brunt of the landing’s force. She opened the door to the trailer, but stopped the young assistant as he went to enter. “Do you think you can scrounge up an ice pack for my shoulder?”
“Do you need to see the doc? Is it bad?” he asked, almost too eagerly.
“An ice pack will do. Gracias.”
He scurried away, and she took a deep breath and entered the trailer.
Once inside, she walked to the small refrigerator, grabbed a can of Pepsi, and slugged down a good portion of the soda. Bracing her shaky hands along the counter in the kitchenette, she thought about the fact that she had just survived a close call. Not her first, but nevertheless scary.
Weakness slowly crept into her limbs along with a chill. A byproduct of the adrenaline rush from doing the stunt, she told herself, and finished off her drink. Combined with a little rest and some meditation to center herself, she would be ready for the next stunt later that afternoon.
A knock came at the door. Billy with the ice pack, she remembered, walked to the door and opened it.
His face was in shadow as he stood in the entryway, but Sara would have known it was Matt even if it was pitch black.
“Heard you had a slight problem,” Matt said.
Great, she thought. The shittiness of her day was now complete.
“I’m fine,” she said with a shrug, then grimaced at the twinge of pain and rubbed her shoulder.
Matt instantly moved to her side and eased away the collar of her shirt to expose the reddened spot at the top of her shoulder. Gently he ran his hand over the area and said, “I’ve already seen the crash mat and heard what the crew had to say. That’s not my idea of fine.”
She jerked back from his touch, flinching at the slight pain it created in her shoulder. “It’s nothing to worry about, ‘Mom’.”
“I checked and double-checked everything. That piece of the set shouldn’t have — ”
“Come off? We both know the unexpected can happen during a stunt. So just leave it alone already,” she nearly shouted, tired of Matt’s overprotective smothering. No one would intentionally rig the set to cause harm. Everyone on the crew was almost like family. None had a grudge to settle. At least, not that she knew, but in a cut throat business like Hollywood, anything was possible.
Matt clearly thought the accident might have been something else, but then again, Matt had been in paranoid mode since an accident on the set nearly two years earlier had badly injured him. He had been lucky to survive, but their relationship hadn’t. The stress and fear that remained with him after the incident had made it impossible for them to stay together.
Sara sensed that Matt itched to dredge up their battle about her stunt work. But instead he just stood there as she removed her shirt, followed by her black jeans to expose the flying harness. The main part of the harness encircled her waist snugly, while two straps slipped down and around the uppermost portion of her thighs. They were there to keep the harness from being jerked out of place during the stunt.
She tried to ignore Matt, who seemed disinclined to leave, but it proved difficult. Too much history joined them. A funny thing really. Matt had been the one to introduce her to the business. He had taught her much of what she knew. Had become her first lover.
Her hands fumbled with the webbing of one buckle and suddenly he stood there, brushing her hands aside.
He loomed over her, close to a foot taller than her own 5’4″ height. Broad-shouldered and still well-muscled despite the fact that he was now normally a stunt coordinator rather than an active participant.
She wouldn’t look at him while he undid the safety binding as easily as he had once undressed her. Caressed her.
She refused to notice the slight tremble in his hands when he accidentally brushed her skin with the back of his hand as he undid the second buckle and main lacings of the equipment.
The harness slipped off and Matt grasped it. She rushed to the opposite side of the trailer and grabbed her robe off a hook. Belting it securely, she turned and watched Matt check the equipment carefully, making sure that it was still in usable condition.
“It worked just fine.” She wished he would leave so she could get a little respite from his presence and prepare herself mentally for the next stunt.
“It’s great that the harness worked fine. What about the friggin’ piece of lumber that nearly flattened you? Was that fine as well?”
“I’m in once piece, Matt. That’s all that matters.” Despite saying that, she was a little spooked. Matt was right about one thing — he ran a tight ship where accidents rarely happened. She would have to keep a close eye on the preparations for the other stunts which remained to make sure no one was up to no good.
Meeting Matt’s gaze, she faked unconcerned and said, “There’s nothing to worry about.”
Matt nodded and seemed about to say something, but an angry buzz from her phone as it rested on the table prevented it.
She grabbed the cell phone and even though unfamiliar with the number showing up on the caller id, answered in order to avoid continuing the fight with Matt. “Sara Mendoza.”
“Ms. Mendoza? This is Detective Alvarez from the Huntington Beach PD. There’s been an incident at your home.”
Check out the rest of the tours on the Women, Words and Wisdom Blog tour:
May 19 – Mary Castillo (http://www.marycastillo.blogspot.com/)
May 20 – Barbara Ferrer (http://www.fashionista-35.livejournal.com/)
May 21 – Lara Rios (http://www.lararios.blogspot.com/)
May 22 – Mayra Calvani (http://www.thedarkphantom.wordpress.com)
May 23 – Caridad Pineiro (http://www.caridad.com/blog)
May 24 – Jamie Martinez (http://www.jamiemartinezwood.blogspot.com/)
May 25 – Berta Platas (http://www.bertaplatas.blogspot.com/)
May 26 – Tracy Montoya (www.tracymontoya.blogspot.com)
May 27 – Kathy Cano-Murillo (http://thecraftychica.blogspot.com)
May 28 – Misa Ramirez (http://chasingheroes.com)
Also — the winner of the contest at Marya Calvani’s blog is ZULMARA! Congrats. Please contact Mayra for your prize.