With that in mind I have recently had to take stock of my life and make important decisions about where I see myself in the future. After all, I'm not getting any younger and we never know what might happen, so at my age, it's important to make plans and try to ensure a happy, productive life for the years that are left. One of the things that brought me to this point was the death of my children's father last December. Even though he and I have been divorced for many years, and both of us remarried, he was a very big part of my life for many years. His death made me think, and made me remember things I have let slide and not paid much attention to lately.
One of those things has been my commitment to God. Even though I was ordained in 1996, since my divorce, I have more or less been in a freefall as far as my faith goes. Not that I walked away from God, I just couldn't find the passion I'd had before the divorce. Having the rug jerked out from under me the way it was, threw me for a loop and it's been a long journey back.
In the interim I have had more than fifteen books published, and I'm not really proud of some of them. Why? Because I feel as if I sold out. I never intended to write erotic, sensual, sexual stories. I believe that we all have talents that are God-given and intended to be used to glorify God in everyday life. I have not done that. In fact, I have gone as far in the other direction as I possibly can. And all for the sake of a publishing contract. I allowed the publishers/editors to dictate what I wrote. Even though the first handful of manuscripts had little or no sex in them, I went with what was popular and with what got me those first contracts. Now, I'm not saying it is the publishers/editors fault. The fault lies completely with my desire to be published. I sacrificed my beliefs for what could be gained here in this lifetime.
Lately, I have had long thoughts on where I am in life and where I want to be. And writing erotica isn't it. So, after long contemplations on my life, my spirituality, and my career, I came to the conclusion I had to make changes that were right for me. Changes that made me feel good about myself and harmonized with my faith. Since that decision, I decided to write the one thing I knew to be true – and that was the life I had with my ex when we were ordained.
Dancing With Bear: A Love Story (https://www.createspace.com/3616729) is that story. Released last week, Dancing With Bear begins with our meeting while he served a sentence for bank robbery at a California state prison and concludes with his memorial service, which we had on the six-month anniversary of his death, June 18, 2011.
Marie, thank you so much for sharing your story.
I am an eclectic reader. Some of my favorite books are Two Old Women, One Thousand White Women, and The Great Gatsby. But I love reading James Patterson too. I also like Regency romances.
Loved The Great Gatsby. Are you a true romantic at heart or not really?
Funny question. I used to be very romantic when I was younger but there's something about life that steals those romantic notions. Sometimes I feel very cynical but I am trying to get some of that old feeling back, and fortunately, I have a husband who reminds me why it's worth being romantic.
What is your all-time favorite movie and why?
This isn't a question I can answer, really. I like so many different kinds of movies and depending on the mood I'm in usually determines my favorite movie. I love romantic comedies and watch them over and over. I also love both Fantastic Four movies, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the Resident Evil movies, and the Underworld movies. But if I was forced at gunpoint to pick only 1 movie, I'd have to say the original B&W version of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance with Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne.
The Fantastic Four and Pirates of the Caribbean are some of my favs too.
The love of my life passed away December 18, 2011. My life will never be the same without him. I loved him with my whole heart, hook, line, & sinker, head over heels, madly, passionately in love with this man since I met him when I was 28 years old.
To honor his memory and for the future generations of our family, I have written a memoir about my life with Bear. He was wonderful, funny, and a great dancer. He never needed music to dance with me because he sang to me while we danced. And it could be anywhere at any time. He was truly one of a kind and I miss him so much the ache in my heart feels as if it will break into so many pieces they will never be put together again and make a whole heart.
Bear went home to be with the Lord. I know one day I will be with him again, but as much as I look forward to being in Heaven with my Lord and my husband, I wanted him to spend the rest of my life here with me. Without him on earth, it feels like a cold, empty space and I've cried so many tears, I'm surprised I have any left.
Can you tell us about your newest venture?
Since I had made the decision to change the subject matter of my writing, I also decided to take another leap. This one is into the role of publisher. I recently opened the virtual doors of Dancing With Bear Publishing (http://www.dancingwithbearpublishing.com/) and only yesterday, issued my first contract for a terrific book set on an Indian Reservation. The author and I were both thrilled!
While change is inevitable, and things happen that we don't like, I am happy that I was motivated in a positive way by changes I could do nothing about. I have always said, "There are no lengths God will not go to in order to get our attention." In my case, He had to use the death of a loved one to motivate those changes within me that manifested in major changes where my professional life was headed.
And I couldn't be happier.
Congrats on beginning your new publishing venture. I'm glad you are happy and pray many blessings upon you during this endeavor.
Marie McGaha writes as Rie McGaha & Marie "Lady Bear" Marler, and lives happily in the wilds of SE Oklahoma with her husband, Nathan, nine dogs, & with many, many kids and grandkids who come and go on a regular basis.
You can find her at the following links:
Dancing With Bear: http://dancingwithbear.webs.com/ DWB Blog: http://dancingwithbearalovestory.blogspot.com/
DWB Readers Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dancingwithbearpublishing/
DWB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dancing-With-Bear/176794169040638
DWB Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/DWB_Publishing
My Space: http://www.myspace.com/novelsbyrie
You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/NovelsByRieMcGaha
Biker Or Not: http://www.bikerornot.com/natenrie
Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/RieMcGaha/
The Pagan & The Pen Book Reviews:
Thank you, Joanne for having me. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to tell it like it is! I will be giving away a print copy of Dancing With Bear: A Love Story to one of the commenters.
Marie, you're very welcome. I'm glad you are a guest today and I enjoyed hearing your story and chatting with you.
If you'd like to read an excerpt of Dancing With Bear: A Love Story, click on the "Read More" link below. Don't forget to comment if you'd like a chance to win a copy of Marie's book. Hope you'll stick around for a bit and chat with us.
A Wife of Crime
The prison at El Reno, Oklahoma has a drug unit where those caught using drugs in the prison are sent to live. Presumably, they will have constant supervision, where the guards have to have visual contact with each inmate every two hours.
When one of the inmates, named Ricky, was found dead from a heroin overdose and had been dead for at least twelve hours, the guards started looking for someone to blame. Most of the inmates at El Reno come from the far reaches of the nation, and don’t have family living nearby. I had moved there to be closer to Bear and visited three times a week, therefore, the prison officials presumed I must be the one bringing heroin into the prison.
My arrest was timed with Bear’s arrest inside the prison. He went to the hole at the same time as I went to jail. Of course, there was no evidence to support the prison’s claims against either one of us. Unfortunately, that makes no difference in America, or in Oklahoma. Especially, when you consider that per capita, Oklahoma has more prisons than any other state, and the highest arrest rates for drug charges, including marijuana. Being from Humboldt County, California, where pot is the leading export and basically legal, I was stunned to learn people were arrested in Oklahoma for minor things like possession of a roach clip.
Anyway, there was a guard at that time named Wingo, who thought he pooped floral smelling rainbows, and hated the fact that Bear and I visited regularly, and actually had fun in the visiting room. Bear used to dance me across the visiting room floor. He was quite the graceful man, considering he was six feet tall and weighed over two hundred pounds. He knew every dance step there was and dancing with Bear was one of my favorite things. He didn’t care if anyone laughed, or thought he was a dork. Bear loved me and loved dancing with me; and I loved dancing with him. He didn’t mind getting on the floor to play with the kids, either. He was, and is, the love of my life.
Being in love with him was like being on fire without being consumed, or like a switch coming on inside of me. We held each other’s hearts and lived in each other’s souls. It was a love affair unlike anything I’d ever known before, or since.
Wingo went to Bear’s cell and said he “knew” I was bringing drugs in and Bear was selling them inside the prison. Bear said the one thing he shouldn’t have.
“Even if I am, you aren’t good enough to prove it.”
Wingo proceeded to tear Bear’s cell apart. He took apart the TV, the radio, the fan, and then cut the thin plastic covered foam pad mattress apart looking for the drugs he never found. Then he arrested Bear and took him to the hole.
Bear had no idea I’d even been arrested, but it was on the news that night. Another inmate, who was an orderly in the segregation unit had heard about my arrest, and told Bear what happened. He also supplied Bear with tobacco, since he didn’t have any on him when he was arrested.
I had been banned from visiting Bear while the charges were pending. But after they were dropped the following January, during the preliminary hearing, Bear was also released from the hole. Wingo had told Bear, ‘hell would freezeover before I would ever step foot in that prison again,’ but the day I was allowed back into the visiting room Bear saw Wingo in the hallway.
Bear had never been one to shirk from rubbing salt into a wound and said, “Got your jacket, Wingo?”
Wingo looked confused. “What are you talking about?”
“Hell must’ve frozen over, because I’m on my way to the visiting room to see my wife!” Bear laughed and kept walking.
When he got into the visiting room, he told me, “Wingo probably went straight to the control room so he can watch us.”
I laughed at the story too. “I bet every camera in this room is on us right now.”
“I know they are,” Bear replied. “Everyone else in here could be dancing naked and none of the guards would even notice.”
I smiled, looked up at the closest camera and waved.