Two weeks ago the Washington (DC) Romance Writers (WRW) RWA chapter held its annual Reader and Blogger Appreciation luncheon. As a continuation of the party, WRW is hosting a blog hop to highlight some of WRW’s authors.
I’m so happy to have author Carlene Love Flores guest blogging today about her inspiration for Stay For Me.
It was October 2014. Mom and I sat at a small round table covered with a plain black cloth that matched the floor, the walls, the uniforms of the staff—even the background music with its hypnotic notes. It was about ten at night, early for Las Vegas. I held in a yawn. Seated all around us were gems bringing this darkened showroom to life. I was tired but dazzled. Women wore shiny, glittery and short dresses and their excitement and anticipation gave a beautiful energy to the room. Makeup. Hair. Legs. Heels. Smiles. Mani’s. Pedi’s. Everywhere. When I turned to check on Mom, she was doing okay. If not, I would have suggested we call it a night and head back to our room. Although quiet, she seemed comfortable and like our room was not where she wanted to be. This had been her idea. Her way of remembering him.
Low and dirty bass notes grinded in the background. Crossed legs bounced at the knees and ankles.
Mom’s hair looked nice, her complexion too, not red or puffy or swollen. Hard to imagine only a few hours earlier we’d been at the love of her life’s funeral. And then in a windy helicopter ride hovering over Hoover Dam, his favorite place to ride his motorcycle. We were dressed in our respectful attire that had felt appropriate in the chapel but not quite right as we soared so high above this powerful engineering wonder.
I felt we’d done his memory justice. I was proud of my mom for how she was handling his loss and how committed she was to “celebrating” rather than “mourning” him as he’d requested in the letter he’d been able to write before his passing that was read at his memorial.
We could return to San Diego and Mom could say she’d honored his request.
“He took me to my first male revue, you know.”
No I hadn’t known that.
“We were with friends. We had dinner and drinks and then he excused himself and told me to enjoy the show. It was my first time.”
I could only imagine what Mom must be feeling. Then, with him. And now, without him.
I thought it impossible, but the room became darker, more ominous, the background music more intimate and intimidating. The glittering women—louder. Mom and me—quieter. Then the music changed and the first dancer emerged on stage. I broke out in a ridiculously embarrassing smile, my nerves tantamount. Mom? She was the epitome of a cool and elegant lady in her modest black and white wrap dress. It took me a while to tear my eyes from the stage, but there was a point when I glanced down and saw her foot bouncing at the ankle. Red killer heels. I smiled. I knew she’d worn them for him. She was okay.
The show was phenomenal. Chippendales was classy, sexy and entertaining.
“You know, I’ve never been to Thunder From Down Under. I wonder if we could get a room for one more night?”
Less than twenty-four hours later…
The show was phenomenal. Thunder was rowdy, sexy and entertaining.
How could I not have been inspired to write after these whirlwind 48 hours that began in a chapel and ended at not one, but two strip shows?
These Three Words, the series, is dedicated in celebration of the man who loved my mom enough to let her go—Clifford Joseph Salvador Merced.
P.S. There was this one dancer. I remember him clearly to this day, two years later. You could see how shy he was on stage, but each time he ventured a look out into the crowd, he would smile at a different lady, give a small wave, and then mouth the words “Thank You”, like he was relieved and grateful people had come to see them. He did this throughout the entire show. His character in the These Three Words series is Gabe. He appears in books 1 and 2, and he’s getting his own book, as soon as I can coax it out of him. To see the real deal, go catch the show at The Rio in Las Vegas. Look for sweet, shy James. And wear some glitter for me and Mom.
About the Author:
Carlene Love is a fan of the stars (especially Orion), music (especially Depeche Mode), and the ocean (especially at sunset). These inspire her intimate stories. If she could touch someone’s heart with writing the way others have for her, she’d say there never lived a luckier girl. She is the author of the Sin Pointe series and the These Three Words series.