Tag: Florida

A rundown on my 5 books

My full house is complete. 

Two fiction novels and three works of nonfiction. 

And due to work and graduate school, I may not be publishing another book for quite a while, despite having several ideas in mind. Who knows, though? Maybe I’ll have another published in the near future. It’s something I love doing.

So, in the meantime, why not provide a quick video rundown of Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History, Deep Green, Heart of the Plate, Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South, and Ray of Hope?

In the video, I briefly talk about each book, summarizing the plot and letting you know where you can find each. I even profess my feelings for the Atlanta Braves, a tumultuous relationship that I can’t seem to quit.

Please share this post with your friends!

Check out the video below.

New book chronicles Florida wheelchair ramp ministry

All proceeds to benefit Ray of Hope nonprofit
MOODY, Ala. – Author Gary Lloyd has released his fifth book, Ray of Hope.

Jimmy Ray was quiet, shy, and humble, but even the most unassuming people have burning passions in their hearts. Jimmy’s was for the disabled, those in northwest Florida who were stuck inside their homes because they could not afford to have wheelchair ramps built. That bothered Jimmy to his core. He began constructing wheelchair ramps with the help of his wife and young daughter, and along the way, a church ministry was born. It became Jimmy’s mission in life. Men, women, and children volunteered. Money and materials were donated. More than five hundred lives were changed forever. In Ray of Hope, Jimmy’s passion is revealed by family, friends, and more than a dozen people who received wheelchair ramps when they had nowhere else to turn. 

Jimmy was Lloyd’s father-in-law, but Lloyd never had the chance to meet him. Jimmy died on Feb. 28, 2010, two years before Lloyd met his daughter, Jessica. Ray of Hope’s publication date is eight years to the day after Jimmy’s death.

“The idea for this book came in 2016 on a ride to the Atlanta airport,” Lloyd said. “Jimmy’s wife, Ramona, was driving Jessica and me there for a trip we were going on, and we spent some time talking about Jimmy and the Ray of Hope organization, which builds wheelchair ramps for those in need. I discovered that the nonprofit had built more than 500 ramps in northwest Florida alone, and I knew that this man’s story, this ministry’s purpose, needed to be told in a book.”

Ray of Hope was published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing. The book is available on http://www.Amazon.com for $10 and on Kindle as an e-book for $7.99. All proceeds from the book’s sales will benefit the Ray of Hope nonprofit organization.
Lloyd is also the author of Trussville, Alabama: A Brief History, Deep Green, Heart of the Plate, and Valley Road: Uplifting Stories from Down South. 
Lloyd has been a journalist in Mississippi and Alabama. He grew up in Trussville, Ala., and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Alabama in 2009. He lives in Moody, Ala., with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs, Abby and Sonny. 
For more information, email garylloydbooks@gmail.com. Also visit http://www.garylloydbooks.squarespace.com and Like his author page at http://www.facebook.com/GaryLloydAuthor. 

For more information about Ray of Hope, find the “Ray of Hope Wheelchair Ramps” page on Facebook.


‘I have fought a long fight’

I can count the number of concerts I have attended on one hand.

In high school, I saw P.O.D. in downtown Birmingham with a few friends.

There was the time last year when Colt Ford, Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert came to Birmingham one warm night. There was the time Morgan Wallen, Nelly, Chris Lane and Florida Georgia Line shared the stage on a cold night at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre. 

But this week, I tried something different. My wife and I went to Iron City in downtown Birmingham, a venue that fills up an hour before the opening act takes the stage. We went to see Walker McGuire and Kane Brown.

We stood in a line that wrapped around two buildings, among teenage girls with Kane Brown photos used as their iPhone wallpapers, with twenty-somethings who could have used perhaps six more inches of material on their dresses. 

Inside, we smelled enough cheap cologne to singe nose hairs and tried to find a quiet spot on the mezzanine. It was crowded, loud, hot, and I felt as if these types of events had passed me by. I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to standing for three straight hours amongst the screamers and the beer-drinkers. 

But something great, in addition to the music, happened.

Up on the mezzanine were a dozen or so reserved tables. We stood directly behind one, and I mentioned to my wife, “Must be VIP.”

The table’s occupants showed up close to showtime, both women. One was bald, with gold crosses dangling from her ears. She was there to see Kane Brown, and she was excited. She even brought a small sign that referenced one of the country artist’s songs. It read, “This Is My ‘Last Minute Late Night’ Before My Surgery.” Surgery was underlined. She taped that small sign to the mezzanine railing, hoping the budding country star would see it. 

As the night went on, she asked my wife to take photos of her and her friend. My wife, of course, did.

I found out the woman, named Merin, has Stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer, diagnosed June 5 of this year. She had port surgery just over a week later and has since had four rounds of Red Devil chemotherapy, and twelve treatments of Taxol and Carboplatin. One treatment a week for twelve weeks.

Someone at the concert asked when Merin, from Pell City, was having surgery. The surgery is this Dec. 12, a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She will have to spend four or five days in the hospital, and will also have four drains and expanders for a few months. 

“It was very important to me to be able to have a fun night out,” the woman told me. “I’ve only had a six-week gap in between my chemo treatments and surgery day.”

She told me that she was in Atlanta for the Luke Combs concert the previous night. She was having her own “last minute late nights” before life changes for a long while. 

“After surgery I really won’t be able to attend any more concerts for a while just because of risk of getting sick or bumped into,” she said. “I don’t know how after surgery I will be feeling. The doctors told me around a year or so. My next concert I’m going to shoot for is Florida Georgia Line, Luke Combs or Carrie Underwood.

“I have fought a long fight,” she said. “You always think, ‘Oh my, I feel bad for someone who has cancer.’ But until you live it you really have no idea how bad it is.”

It is tough financially and emotionally. The woman has a seven-year-old son she calls “wonderful,” and he needs his mother. He has had to help her more than any kid should have to. It’s not fair to him, she told me. 

“I will be glad when this is all over with so he can be a kid again, and I can take back my role as mom,” she told me. “I trust in the Lord to guide my family and I in the right direction. With Him, anything is possible.”

The concert was awesome, and I know this woman enjoyed it. I could see it on her face, hear it in her screams as Kane Brown performed “Last Minute Late Night” and “Learning” on stage. 

Kane Brown never saw her sign, as far as I know. The room was too dark at times, and too bright with purple lights at others. I wish he would have seen it, and gotten to meet this special woman.

I checked Kane Brown’s social media channels two days after the concert, just to see if he posted anything from his trip to the Magic City.

His two Tweets since the show: “My job’s to bring light into other people’s lives” and “You’re special.”

If he didn’t see that woman’s sign, you could have fooled me with those Tweets.