Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tribute to an Angel

Greetings everyone!

Please forgive me for not revealing a Hump Day Hunk of the week yesterday. I'd arranged for a guest blogger, Sabrina York, and I wanted to give her the space and time. It's my hope that Sabrina's readers and mine checked out her post.

On that note, let's get to the topic of the day, RomantiCon2012. If you're on Twitter, you can follow discussion at #RomantiCon12 or @Ellorascave for updates on EC's annual convention. But first, it's safe to admit that my heart is broken as I write this post.

As many may know by now, Ellora's Cave lost a dear friend and last year's Alpha Caveman, Ruben Dario Riguero Brito, 'Angelo', in a tragic shooting earlier this week. Jaid Black, EC's founder, has written an amazing tribute to him here: and on her personal blog. He was so young and had such promise and vitality and a warm smile that charmed every person who knew him. By nature, he was a peacemaker, the kind of man who you could trust and laugh with.

By many accounts, he was a fitness fanatic and loved baseball. He had an incredible sense of rhythm and dance, and when he was on the dance floor leading others, you simply couldn't look away, he was that magnetic. He also created a rumba explosion class in Dallas and his friends there have vowed to continue his legacy there.

Two years ago, I had the fortune of meeting Angelo/Ruben for the first time. It was my first RomantiCon as an EC author, and most attendees danced the night away with Angelo in the center of the dance floor along the way. He was surrounded. The most memorable moment for that convention for me happened when he graciously coaxed Maggie, an attendee who'd seen many, many health challenges in her family, not to mention her own concerns, onto the dance floor in her wheelchair, along with her daughter. They were his focus, they were charmed, and they had a blast. To see them smile and dance and be treated as the beautiful women they were was endearing, allowing them to live for the moment as their cares and concerns were a million miles away in that moment and time.

One year ago, my second turn at RomantiCon, Angelo was on the cover of one of my books, Field of Play. I proudly displayed the cover flats because Angelo was the epitome of the hero I'd created for that book. When he saw the cover, he immediately came over, chatted with me about the book and then signed a cover flat for me with the words "For My Babe, Angelo, XOXO", and he handed it back with the biggest smile. Afterward, he took one of my promo tip cards featuring the cover from the table, asking if he could keep it and almost shyly placed it into his pocket.

Not long after, the Sexporium, featuring burlesque and pole dancers, was going on, and Angelo led the other Cavemen to not only watch, but to remain respectful of what the ladies were doing. Sure, they were men and the enjoyed the show because the women were beautiful in their art. The Cavemen also gave the pole dancing a try, including Angelo, discovering that it wasn't easy at all! To see them try was truly funny. But beyond the pole dancing episode, that moment when Angelo signed Field of Play's cover for me was mine to cherish. It wasn't more than five minutes, and yet, that five minutes featured who he was as a person, warm, compassionate, kind, and genuinely interested in what I write.  

When I returned home, I had the autographed cover framed and it now sits above my desk. It will never be replaced, as he will never be replaced. While I know RomantiCon12 will be another great success, his spirit will be among us, his legacy never to be forgotten but embraced by all who knew him. The Cavemen will make certain his name is honored, as Jaid herself said in the page dedicated to him on RomantiCon's website, Friday night will be "Angelo's night", and rightfully so.

One of the best descriptions I've heard and seen when someone met Ruben, it was that he had the smile and features of an angel. In fact, many covers featured him with an angel's wings. There's no doubt that there's a new angel in Heaven, but he will surely, always be missed.

As RomantiCon2012 approaches, may we all know that no matter what, an angel will be calling out Bingo numbers in that thick Venezuelan accent that sent hearts aflutter.

Rest in peace, Ruben, and keep smiling. You will always be in our hearts!


  1. Such a sad time for his family as well as the EC family. A very lovely tribute, Frances.

  2. Beautiful tribute, Frances.

    I met him last year at my first Romanticon. Every time I got on to an elevator he was there. One time I was on the elevator alone and he asked if it was okay that he get on the same elevator. I told him "Of course! Don't be silly." We chatted about how it was my first Romanticon, how long I was an EC author and how it was the first time I was away from my baby and how I was missing my kids. He was so warm and sympathetic. It was easy to talk to him. I'm so saddened by his tragic death.

  3. Thank you for commenting. Amy, that's incredibly special.

  4. This is a wonderful tribute, Frances. I'm going to miss seeing Angelo this year. It won't be the same, but I'm sure I'll enjoy the event. And I know he'll be in the thoughts of everyone who attends.