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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Guest Post: Rocks, Robes, and Pillow Cases

Today I am honored to have as my guest Pamela S. Thibodeaux. She has a touching Valentine Day's romance story for us all. 
Rocks, Robes, and Pillow Cases
As a romance writer, I’m always thinking of ways to make my heroine or hero swoon. Sweet words and sentimental gestures seem to come easily and naturally in novels. But what about in real life? Is there such a thing as genuine romance, a dedicated soul mate, or a true romantic partner?
Yes, there is!
My husband was a very sentimental man with a kind, romantic soul you’d never expect of a law enforcement officer. We always did little things to keep the passion alive in our marriage. Notes in the lunch box or on the coffee pot, glass of wine and hot bath after work, dancing in the kitchen or on the porch – or better yet, alone on the houseboat. Unexpected gifts, tiny stuffed animals saturated with his favorite cologne or my perfume to carry in our vehicle, teasing remarks, and sensual innuendos were the norm around our house. I still have many of the cards and notes he gave and a several pages in a photo album are filled with the Love Is cartoons he cut out of the newspaper on a regular basis. But the one event that stands out in my heart is the day he gave me a rock.
No, not a diamond – a rock!
One warm, balmy evening early in our courtship we parked under an overpass and took a walk along the railroad tracks. Holding hands and sharing dreams. Taking me by the hand, my lover encouraged me to sit beside him on the ground. 
“My love is like this rock,” he said, picking up a stone and placing it in my hand. “It’s strong and solid, it’ll never change, it’ll last forever, and there’s not another one like it in the world.”
That’s a moment I’ll never forget. I mean, seriously – what man or woman thinks like that? I know I’d never thought of love like that before and I’m a romance novelist! 
But think about it…like snowflakes, no two rocks are alike. However, linked together snowflakes and rocks, like hearts, can create something strong and solid and secure.
Only One other has expressed His love in such enduring terms: strong, solid, unchanging, everlasting. He is known by many names, one being the Rock of Ages.
My husband passed away in August, 2009. I had no idea how to go on when all I wanted was to curl up with him in my arms, to see his smiling face and hear his beloved voice. To feel his heart beat against mine.
But I couldn’t.
All I had was an empty bed, a vacant pillow, memories of amazing love, and two rocks sitting on a shelf.
In the process of making funeral arrangements and discussing what to do next, I decided I wanted to have his picture put on the case covering his king-sized pillow. My son-in-law wondered if the desire was normal. My son worried that this would bring me anything but comfort and make things worse not better.
I had no way to assuage their fears or assure them I’d be fine. All I knew was I needed to hold onto his presence in the bed where we lived and laughed and loved for so many years and clinging to those rocks or his robe just wasn’t cutting it. 

A friend bought me a package of iron on transfers and I set to work immediately. Anticipation beat a tattoo in my heart as I placed the sheet in the printer and set up the photo per the specifications. The concerns of my loved ones kept cadence with the iron as I transferred the picture onto the cloth. The first attempt wasn’t all that great. Placed too high on the pillowcase, the edges didn’t seal well and after only a few washes the image deteriorated. The second time around, I paid a little more attention to the details and was rewarded with a beautiful, glossy depiction. 
Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief and things they cling to … a cherished photo, a sprinkle of cologne or perfume on his or her favorite shirt, dancing alone to your special song. I did all those things. I slept wrapped in his robe, robbed his dresser of pajama pants and T-shirts and his closet for long sleeves and coats – after all, the closest thing to being in his arms is having his flannel shirt or hunting jacket warm me when I’m chilled.
At nearly ten years, sometimes I feel as though I’m still muddling through the transition from wife to widow to individual. I’ve done away with his things including the pillow and case which I gifted to our granddaughter. The robe went to our grandson who will never know his Paw Paw except by the stories we tell. I buried our wedding bands at his gravesite, but the rocks we exchanged will never be given away. They have a special place in the shadow-box created to house important mementos of his (and our) life and serve as a constant reminder that true love does exist and real romance beats what you’ll find in novels any day.




* * * * * * *

Look closely at the cover….
Recently I visited Animal Kingdom @ Walt Disney World in FL with my family and one of the most breathtaking sights is the Tree of Life / garden. Within the trunk of this huge tree are carvings of every kind of animal. You can view it from any angle and take a dozen different pictures and each time, see something more and/or different.
What does this have to do with a book cover? You ask.
Read on…..
I’ve always admired the covers Pelican Book Group creates for their titles and when I first received the cover for Love in Season, I thought – how sweet, but a closer look revealed a whole lot more than a couple on a bench in front of a lovely tree. 
If you took a passing glance, look again….
What do you see?
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all depicted within the leaves and branches of this tree!
It takes an amazing eye for detail to pick something like this for a book cover.  Thanks to Nicola Martinez for creating such a beautiful work of art for for my collection of romantic short stories centered around the four seasons and four love-oriented holidays!
*see photos of the Tree of Life/Garden Here: https://www.wdwinfo.com/Photos/AK-treeoflife/pages/DSC00093.htm

Fun Fact: For quite some time I wanted to put together a collection of short stories that centered around the 4 seasons and 4 holidays that focus on love and family (Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas). Since I already had several stories at PBG, I mentioned this idea to my editor, the amazing Nicola Martinez, and she loved it. I submitted two previously unpublished stories to round out the collection, along with those Pelican Book Group had already published, and viola! Love in Season was born.
Blurb: Anytime is the perfect time for love. 
In this anthology, author Pamela S Thibodeaux brings together eight of her most beloved romance stories—one for each season plus four holidays that revolve around love and family. 
Includes two brand new stories!
TinyURL (kindle): http://bit.ly/LoveinSeason

TWEET: Anytime is the perfect time for love. Author @psthib brings together 8 #romance stories — 1 for each season + 4 holidays that revolve around love and family. Includes two brand new stories! #christfic #mustread http://bit.ly/LoveinSeason

Story Blurbs:
(Winter) Winter Madness: Sienna has survived what most succomb to - the death of a spouse and child and has maintained her faith despite her troubles. William has never met anyone who actually lived out what they say they believe. Is it true love between the faithful optimist and broody pessimist or simply winter madness?

(Valentine’s Day) Choices: Best-selling novelist and songwriter, Camie Rogers has penned numerous accounts of the secret love she holds in her heart. Country-Music Superstar Kip Allen has changed from the shy, humble boy, to the epitome of “star.” Can the two rediscover each other after one night of his Home is where the Heart is Tour?

(Spring) Cathy’s Angel: Single mom Cathy Johnson is tired of running her life alone…what she needs is a well-trained angel to help out. Jared Savoy gave up the dream of having a family when he discovered he is sterile. Can a confirmed bachelor and the mother of four find love amid normal daily chaos?

(Easter) Lilies for Sandi *NEW!* Sandi and Brett did everything backwards. They got pregnant before the wedding and had a baby instead of a honeymoon. Since, Brett has resented the fact that his dreams of a football career have been cut short and wonders how long it’ll take God to forgive him for his mistakes. Sandi has played second fiddle to Brett’s dreams and desires to the point of not knowing herself any longer and fears her marriage will never be a true one because of their failures. Can two hearts broken by unfulfilled dreams find healing, wholeness and restoration? 
(Summer) The Big Catch *NEW!*Karla and, the love of her life, Jeff, have uncovered some uncommon ground: The Great Outdoors. For the life of her, she does not understand his love of fishing and how he can spend so much time doing so. Will she come to love the sport as much as he or will his passion for a rod and reel tangle up their relationship?
(Fall) A Hero for Jessica: Anthony Paul Seville is known as the ‘most eligible bachelor’ in New Orleans, possibly even the entire state of Louisiana, but finds himself alone—completely and explicitly alone. Jessica Aucoin is a writer on her way to fame and fortune, but is haunted by a man from her past. Will the “champion” lawyer and the author of romantic suspense find love written in their future?  
(Thanksgiving) Review of Love (Newly Edited/Revised/Lengthened!): Jason Stockwell has been commissioned to interview Kylie Erickson and to review her books. Only problem is, she won’t give the time of day much less an interview to someone whose type of writing she deems not worthy of respect. Can they suspend their judgmental attitudes and find true love?
(Christmas) In His Sight: Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.  
Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.
 Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?

Author Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!”™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Links:
Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com   
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1jUVcdU

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