Thursday, February 25, 2016


Roses and Readers, join me in welcoming Ashantay as our guest blogger. I really enjoyed it (since I totally identify), and I think you will, too.
I am an old hippie. Wait, what I mean is that when I was younger—much younger but we won’t go into that—I wore loose fitting clothes, tie-dyed shirts, ripped jeans, and patchouli oil. I listened to a lot of psychedelic music and didn’t pay much attention to the way things “should be” or live a traditional life. Because, as an early twenty-something, I had all the answers, and they didn’t match the ones my parents had.

Fast forward (loud cough) decades, and I’m still wearing loose-fitting clothes, though I save my scruffy jeans for gardening. I don’t use patchouli oil as my nasal passages have a problem with the grocery store’s soap aisle, and I now prefer light herbal scents. But if you stopped by you’d be more likely to hear Eric Clapton or Led Zepplin played on my stereo than the current top forty.

And unlike twenty-somethings, I know I don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to let the mystery be.

But like so many Boomers, I seem to be stuck In a personal time-warp viewing myself as still young and vital. Not having the energy to run full-out ten plus hours a day came as a shock. And I wonder who the heck transplanted my mother’s wrinkles and her neck wattles onto my body when I wasn’t looking. Wasn’t I attending be-ins and outdoor rock concerts just yesterday?

So when older protagonists clamored at me, wanting their stories told, I was a bit surprised. Then I wrote their tales. In the process, I came to terms with my aging, and isn’t that the best part of reading and writing books? Learning something about yourself or others?

Like my characters, I’ve experienced much of life and find I don’t regret what I did or didn’t do – even the stuff I’m not so proud about. I’m not perfect but I can live with myself, though I admit I don’t like looking into mirrors a whole lot. I wish I had more energy, but I’ve learned to pace myself, and that was an important lesson all on its own.

Due to my experiences, I look at life differently than many my age. I’m less conservative, more willing to think about change but understand fear of the unknown. I’ve learned to merge the varied aspects of me into a more cohesive soul and come closer to understanding life – exactly why I experimented as a young adult. And I think I’ve learned the trick of remaining young, at heart and in mind if not in body. At least I think I know the path to take, and that’s cool.

Life is a trip, isn’t it?

Rock star Jack Reed has secrets. He’s kept his first marriage to a girl he met at Woodstock, and their son, under wraps for decades. Now his child has tracked him down wanting answers.

Former hippie Sally Ford never fully recovered from Jack’s betrayal of their family. She believes he put his career first then and will again, leading to another shattered ending.

Jack and Sally’s first meeting is combustible. Can they confront their past and overcome a history of deceit and manipulation to find peace and love?

         “And how is Sally, uh, I mean, your mother?” He wasn’t sure why he’d asked about a woman who’d torn out his heart, but too late to call back the words.
         “I call her Sally in public, Mom in private. Can’t remember how that got started but it works for us. She’s fine.”
         “She didn’t have a problem with us meeting?”
         “No, no, she’s fine.”
         Jack knew bullshit when someone spun it, and Carlos wove a blanket. He raised his eyebrows. “Really? I figured she’d fight this get-together.”
         “Nope.” Carlos chuckled. “Okay, she didn’t look happy, more resigned. Maybe a little scared.”
         She doesn’t want me around. I can get down with that feeling.
          “You’re not pissed with me or her, are you? For keeping quiet about my identity? The band hit crazy big on that first tour. She, we thought you’d be better off out of the spotlight.”
         Carlos tilted his head to the side, and Jack recognized Sally in the gesture. “I haven’t had time to digest the information. I guess you both had a good reason for the charade, and even though I’m not pressing now, I’ll want answers.”
         Icy fingers gripped his gut. “So my leaving did piss you off.”
         “Not totally.”
         Jack held on to his coffee cup with both hands, happy his son hadn’t walked out yet. Sure, he’d signed away his rights to Carlos, but Sally had been impossible to find after she’d left. She’d made it clear—through lawyers—that he’d only screw up their son, and he’d believed her.
Then his actions had proved her right.

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Margo Hoornstra said...

Welcome, Ashantay. Nice to have you here. Those somewhat been around the block a time or two characters speak to me too. My youngest son once told me I still dressed like a hippie at times and I took it as a wonderful compliment!

Leah St. James said...

Hi, Ashantay! Love your excerpt, and the idea of coming to terms with the past...and (I'm guessing) second chances. :-) The hippie style was so fun, and that generation's music was the best, period. Disco was a close second. (Hey! It was fun to dance to!) Wishing you much success with the book!

Diane Burton said...

Welcome, Ashantay. What a great premise. The past catches up, doesn't it? Love older characters who've had the same experiences I've had. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Having read and loved "Deja Vu All Over Again", I know just what a great read (and a blast) this story is. Don't we all fantasize a bit about revisiting those tie-dyed days? If a song you loved in the past has ever come on the radio and filled you with that rush of pure LIFE, you must read this book.

Jannine Gallant said...

Great post and excerpt. I was born in the early sixties so am a little younger than the "hippie" generation, but give me some Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd any day, and I'm a happy camper! What a terrific idea for a story, and that cover rocks!

Polly Iyer said...

Great blog, Ashantay. I can certainly relate. I was too early to be a flower child, but I was an early independent female. Where has the time gone?

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I graduated from high school in '66 and was a flower child. Now I retain status as a bloomin' idiot. I loved your post and devoured your excerpt. Love has no age limit. Thank God!

Linda Lovely said...

Hey, Ashantay--You're still young and beautiful. Of course, I won't mention that I have cataracts. Just kidding. Feel the same as you do about aging. I can't be that age--until I look in a mirror. Great post and excerpts.

Ashantay said...

I arrived here early this morning with the intent to give thanks to you all for hosting me today, but left without a word. Yes, I am that old, apparently. Thanks to all the Roses of Prose for hosting me and for your kind words!

Ashantay said...

Margo, you must have a truly hip son!

Leah - I like to disco, I like to boogie, also!

Diane - the past sure does show up - often when we wish it didn't.


Jannine - Diana Carlile's work - I love her sense of aesthetic.

Polly - I'm not sure where the time has gone, but I wouldn't mind getting some of it back!

Vonnie - I'm a year behind you and agree love has no limit!

Linda, I find it easier to avoid mirrors and shiny surfaces. Helps me keep my fantasies intact.

Alison Henderson said...

I was a bit too young to be a real hippie (Class of '72), but I was on the fringe. I still struggle to accept aging and its physical effects, but I am at least psychologically comfortable in my own skin. So far, the older characters in my books have all been secondary, but I often have more fun writing them than the younger heroes and heroines.

Ashantay said...

Thanks for stapping by and your comments, Alison! So glad you are comfortable in your own skin - big lesson, that.

Liz Flaherty said...

Hi, Ashantay. As you know, I'm there on the older protagonist train with you. I can't wait to delve into the rest of this story!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Ashantay, how nice to learn more about your upbringing. I was a hippie wannabe...I went to a Lutheran college (St. Olaf), where dancing was allowed for the first time on the year I entered as a freshman. No students were allowed to have cars, either. Boys had no hours; girls had to be in their dorms (locked) at 10:30! Meanwhile the rest of my age group was going wild everywhere except at St. Olaf. There were two worlds back then. I was as rebellious I could be then...but I was an 'out there' teacher later. Your book sounds like two roads diverging and converging much much later. Great premise...good luck!

Ashantay said...

Thanks, Liz, for your comment. Yes, we do like those older heroines, don't we? Love never dies -

Ashantay said...

Rolynn - was that St. Olaf in Minnesota? Glad to learn you were as "out there" as you could manage! That probably explains why you are an author now...(smiling)

Alicia Dean said...

I missed the hippie era too, just barely. :) I love that you're embracing your 'maturity.' I'm working on that as well. I LOVE this story...such a great read!