Tuesday, March 11, 2014

*PROMO* "Sunshine: Diary of an Affair" by E. J. Caulder

Title – Sunshine: Diary of An Affair
Author – E.J. Caulder @ejcaulder
Genre – Romantic Suspense
Series – Book one of four of The Sunshine Affair series
Website – www.sunshineaffair.com

Tina is a beautiful woman who could have had any man she wanted. Her problem is that the man she chose is only concerned about what she can do for him. Thirteen years of marriage has given her two amazing children but left her with virtually no self-esteem or self-worth, because her husband has relentlessly stripped away both with his indifference and belittling comments. 

Eric is an athletic, ambitious college instructor who has big plans for his career and his life. As he puts himself through graduate school, he wonders if he will ever find a woman who will truly appreciate him for who he is and love him unconditionally, not for what others want him to be. 

A chance meeting at the local gym brings Tina and Eric together. There is an undeniable chemistry between them the first moment their eyes say hello. It’s not long before that chemistry becomes attraction and Tina must make a choice: leave her husband for Eric or stay in a marriage that has emotionally crippled her. For Eric it is a choice of denying the woman he’s been longing for or turn his back on his beliefs on having an affair with a married woman. 

As their friendship grows, so does the attraction until their feelings can no longer be denied. It becomes increasingly difficult for Tina and Eric not to give into their passion for one another. But the more time they spend with each other brings them one step closer to giving in to their desires. 

In the meantime, Tina's husband becomes suspicious of Tina and Eric’s friendship and that suspicion causes Tina and Eric to take their friendship to the shadows in an effort to keep their budding affair a secret. Eric conspires to win Tina's heart and show her why leaving her husband is exactly the right thing to do. Tina's husband uncovers his wife's feelings for Eric though he can never confirm she is having an affair. Eric and Tina are able to stay one step ahead of her husband...but for how long? And what will her husband do when his suspicions are confirmed? 

Based on a true story, author E.J. Caulder puts readers in the middle of the true life account of Eric Simmons’ journal entries of The Sunshine Affair series in this gripping rollercoaster love affair that will have you wondering just how far a person will go to get what they want regardless the cost or the consequences.

E.J. Caulder is a suspense writer who loves intrigue and seeing how people react in uncertain circumstances to see how far they will go to get what they want or what they can't have. E.J. enjoys people watching and often looks at people and wonders to what length would they go? Getting in a person's head and finding out what drives them, what makes them do what they do is tremendously fascinating. The drama we find in art often pales to the drama of real life and E.J. tries to capture real life in his writing.

The Sunshine series underscores how the most innocent of situations can turn into something more, especially where matters of the heart are involved. Poor choices of the past, self-deception, selfishness, and desperation can make people do things they might not otherwise do but now feel they have no other choice BUT to do. Those factors make for great drama but can also lead to tragedy, as happens at moments in The Sunshine Affair series. 

The phrase "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" is true in physics but in love the reaction is far more powerful and devastating than the initial action, which the two main characters experience firsthand. Their actions have serious consequences.

Comments from the author
Writing the Sunshine Affair series was one of the most difficult undertakings I've had as a writer. Now, writing isn't new to me but writing the type of story that fell in front of my keyboard was. As a writer the three things I look for in any story are realism, a compelling plot, and the main character(s) motivation. When Eric came to me and said, "Here. I think you're the person to tell my story" all three of those elements and more were suddenly in front of me. What Eric had given to me out of the blue were the journals he kept during a secret affair he had over the course of years. This was an affair of which no one knew. 

I read Eric's journals. Page after page of his handwritten jotting revealed his thoughts, feelings, and actions...some of which were shocking to me. He put everything is exquisitely defined detail, making me feel as though I were standing next to him as everything unfolded. I felt as though I was finding out what was happening the same moment he was. It took me almost a year to read the secret life he led. During this time I had to decide if I could write the story or if Eric's belief in my writing abilities had been misplaced. It didn't take me long to decide. This was a story I could not pass up telling. I told Eric I would do my best to do his and Tina's story justice.

As much as I loved writing the series, it was not without its challenges. Now, Eric made my task much easier because of his painstaking detail, especially the dialog. 95% of what you read in the Sunshine series actually happened or was said. I didn't have to make up the conversations because what Eric recorded in his writings was far better than most writers could make up. The candidness and vivid specifics stood up on their own. My challenge was to not just throw in quotation after quotation of conversation but to really set the scene around those conversations. It's important for the readers to not only be part of the conversation but to put them in the room with Eric and Tina by including facial expressions, body language, and mannerisms. 

My strategy in writing the Sunshine Affair series was to stay as true as I could to the diary format to help move the relationship and readers through time as smoothly as possible. The diary format was also used as a tool for people to get in Eric's head and provide a perspective so that we're learning as he's learning, we're surprised as he's surprised, and so on. And that's where I got and stayed awhile - in Eric's head. And it was tougher to get out of than I thought.

We've all had moments when we've wanted to get in someone's head and find out what they're really thinking at a given moment, to know what makes them tick. Prepping and writing the Sunshine Affair series put me squarely in Eric's head. It wasn't that the story sucked me in and wouldn't let go, it was the pondering of why Eric would throw away his entire belief system for Tina, why he did so many things he had told me for years he would never do, how he could keep all of this inside him for so long and not tell anyone. I've never asked Eric directly because part of me doesn't want to know and part of me thinks Eric still doesn't know.

What I can tell you is the Sunshine Affair series is some of the best writing I've ever done and one of the most compelling stories I've ever heard, read, or written about. My hope is that, in the end, I have done Eric and Tina's story justice. But that's not for me to decide.

I invite you to get in Eric's head by checking out book one: Sunshine: Diary of An Affair by clicking on the link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B29ALUC
- E.J. Caulder

May 12, 1999
My apartment
Renae had told me to be careful and not get too close to Tina. It’s not that I ignored her advice, I just didn’t listen to it. Tina’s visit to my house last month was not her last. In fact, Tina’s visits are now a regular occurrence, her cover story being that she’s out walking Zeus who is always with her when she stops by. We spend hours together almost every day. It is rare that Tina isn’t at The Club when I’m working or working out. Our conversations have been longer and deeper, our closeness tighter. We talk about life issues, likes and dislikes, life experiences…sometimes our chats are silly, sometimes serious. Tina has shared many times how off track she and her husband are right now. The light in her eyes always gets dimmer when she talks about him. Tina has said many times she feels lonely in her marriage, as though Doug isn’t attracted to her anymore or that he finds her annoying. She takes his disinterest personally and as a personal failing on her part. Whatever Doug doesn’t like about her anymore must be her fault. I just listen to her, not knowing what to say. I’m sure as hell not a marriage counselor and I’m not qualified to give out any advice on the subject. It just frustrates me to no end that so many great women are married to jerks and I can’t find a woman to date me, let alone marry me. Regardless, there is a chemistry and an attraction between Tina and me that is never spoken of but it is undeniable. A bond has developed. Our relationship is one of friendship but has the potential to move beyond it but for one thing - she’s married. Not happily so but married. A line is we don’t talk about but we both see it. I don’t know where this friendship/relationship with Tina is going but I want to find out. These are my thoughts as I lay here in bed on a Friday night. Most night people don’t go to bed alone at 8:30 on a Friday. However, this isn’t a normal Friday night bedtime for this night person. Tomorrow is graduation as I will receive my bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Concordia University in St. Paul. Tomorrow is going to be a big day and I want to make sure I’m well rested. This is the first time I’ve let my excitement about graduation show in any form. People tell me I should show my excitement more. I’ve always believed you don’t celebrate a victory till you cross the finish line. Tomorrow I cross the finish line. Then I’ll be excited. Then I’ll celebrate. The journey I’ve finished was not without sacrifices. I had quit my full-time job at KBOS so I could attend my night class. Worked two part-time jobs so I could pay the bills, which wasn’t always easy. There were months I didn’t know if I’d have enough money to cover all my bills but I always had just enough. I turn over and look at my clock radio: 8:45. I should be trying harder to get to sleep but it’s difficult when so many images of the past year and a half are playing in my mind. A deep breath enters and leaves my lungs as I try to push aside all thoughts and drift off to sleep. The doorbell cuts through the silence, telling me sleep isn’t happening yet. What the hell? Who would ring my doorbell when all the lights are off? I throw back the covers, roll out of bed dressed in a t-shirt and pair of athletic shorts, and walk to the front door. Before opening the door, I turn on the outside light and see Tina standing there alone, without Zeus. I open the door and say hello. The look on my face conveys my confusion. Undaunted, Tina asks me, “Would you like to go for a walk?”  “Not tonight,” I decline. “I have to get up early tomorrow to go to St. Paul to attend my college graduation, so I’ll have to pass. But thanks for asking.” “Okay. Another time then,” Tina says and then departs. Upon returning to bed I reflect on what had just happened. I sensed a weird vibe coming from Tina. I’ve never seen Tina walking without Zeus and her headset radio. It seemed like Tina had something on her mind and wanted to talk to me. Urgently. Tina’s body language was almost desperate. I have a feeling what she wanted to talk to me about, or at least I had two main possibilities. One of those possibilities is not good. I figured I’d find out soon enough what is on Tina’s mind. That is another thought for another time. Right now it’s time to sleep. Want to be fresh for graduation. ***

May 13, 1999
My apartment

Today’s graduation activities are behind me and the apartment is a fort at the moment. I’ve emotionally barricaded myself in here. Not wanting to deal with any more than I’ve already had to today. I’ve spent hours watching tv shows I recorded this week. I’d just finished watching “Frasier” when I look out my front window and see my friend Tina approaching with Zeus. I figure whatever unfinished business she had from last night is going to be taken care of this evening. I welcome the diversion. I wait until Tina rings my doorbell and then answer the door. 

“Would you like to go for a walk tonight?” she again invites 

I accept the invitation and choose now to leave my fort. It is a beautiful night for a walk. The air is crisp enough for Tina to be wearing a light jacket but warm enough that she doesn’t have to zip it up. Zeus keeps a consistent walking pace that allows conversation without getting short of breath. By this time of night, the neighborhoods are quiet. The sun has set so we’re led down our paths by street lights. Traffic is minimal. There is no one out but us. And the crickets. 

We meander about Bostin, chatting about light issues. I figure Tina’s waiting for the right moment to tell me what is on her mind so I didn’t force the issue. When she is ready, she’ll let me know. The topic of our conversation turns to graduation. I give Tina the quick version of the story, not really dwelling on the disappointing aspects of the event. Tina tells me she’s proud of me for what I’ve accomplished. I decide not to tell her about her daughter and friends greeting to me when I got home.

Our walk continues for another hour. The conversation seems like there’s a lot of filler but not much substance. There’s a shoe waiting to drop. She came by my place two nights in a row wanting to go on a walk with me. It isn’t for chit chat. But what?

We arrive back on my sidewalk sooner than I would have preferred. Time with Tina always goes too fast. She is about to say something but stops as she reaches inside her jacket pocket, unsure what could be in there. She pulls out a length of utility rope. 

“Well, this is rather sudden,” I say. “I guess we know what you have on your mind.”

Tina looks up at me, bemused. “This is Jake’s jacket, not mine. I just borrowed it.

I purse my lips, furrow my brow, and nod my head quickly. “Yeah, right.” We laugh. Then silence. Again with the silence.

Tina looks at me and begins. “Eric, I have something to tell you. I wanted to tell you this last night, which is why I stopped.” Tina pauses. “I don’t know how to say this without embarrassing myself.” 

Here we go. The shoe is on its way down. “It’s okay,” I assure her. “Everything’s okay. Go ahead and say what you have to say.”

She does. “I was thinking that if Doug had a lady friend that he visited on a regular basis that I wouldn’t like it very well. So I just want to tell you that I won’t be walking by your house anymore. We won’t be taking any more walks together either. We’ll still see each other at The Club but that’s it.”

Not sure which is dropping faster right now, my stomach or my heart.

How appropriate. How appropriate that Tina would tell me this today of all days. On a day when I was alone at my collegegraduation I have a friend tell me we can’t hang out anymore.   Despair creeps up on me. “I understand.” I reply. “Actually, I’ve been expecting this. Most of my friends are married women and this is something that has happened many times before. There are a lot of husbands who aren’t comfortable with a single man like myself hanging out with their wives. I’ve seen the familiar signs that indicated our time together was going to come to end an soon.” All of what I said is true but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. I feel like stalling. Right now things hadn’t changed. Tina is still standing in front of me. We are still friends. Once she leaves, she will be out of my life, or at least, not as big a part of it as she had been. I ignore the feeling. “I’d better get back home,” Tina says, looking down at the dog. “Good night.” Tina gives Zeus’ leash a quick shake and walks off.  She’s not happy in her marriage. From what she’s told me, I can certainly understand why. Why do some men fail to realize how lucky they are…how good they have it? The friendship Tina and I had probably made her feel guilty for a host of reasons. All I know is that right now I’m a little sad and more than a little angry. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Get Sunshine: Diary of An Affair now: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B29ALUC



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