Wednesday, January 21, 2009

IMHO Welcomes Colleen Thompson!

IMHO: As previously announced, over the next four weeks until Valentine’s Day, I’ll have guest hosts writing on the theme of “What Romance Means to Me.” Each author will put one of her books in our Romance Roundup Gift Basket, and at the end of the contest period, one lucky person will win all TEN autographed books. Comment on at least two author’s posts during the period, and you could be the winner! How is that for a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift? For details, go to my contest page.

Let’s kick off our first post. We'll be starting with Colleen Thompson today, as Susan Squires' post has been unexpectedly delayed. From the historical novels that began her writing journey (written as Gwyneth Atlee and Colleen Easton) to the riveting romantic suspense that has become her trademark, Colleen Thompson writes stories that show us that sometimes, love can kill.

In 2004, Colleen Thompson's first romantic thriller, Fatal Error, launched Dorchester Publishing's new line of fast-paced, steamy romantic suspense. The book was nominated for the RITA Award for Best Romantic Suspense and won the Texas Gold for Best Mainstream Fiction. Colleen has over fourteen books to her credit, with number fifteen, BENEATH BONE LAKE, due out in June 2009. Now residing in the Houston area with her husband and son, Colleen works with children in addition to her writing and speaking. She also happens to be my terrific critique partner. Colleen will put a signed copy of her romantic thriller THE SALT MAIDEN into the Romance Roundup Gift Basket.

Welcome, Colleen, and tell us what romance means to you.

Colleen Thompson on Romance

CT: Thanks, TJ!

After the initial courtship, romance -- at least in my case -- is not so much about the grand gesture as it is the little, day-to-day things. When my husband brings me tea and the newspaper in bed on Sunday morning, when he comes home from a 10-hour work day and cooks a meal because he knows I'm tired (or, lately, because my left arm is broken and it’s a real pain to handle food), or comes with me on a research trip for my latest book, I know I'm being romanced. When he listens with interest as I talk about my day or describe some problem I'm having, or when he cleans up some disaster the dogs have dragged inside the house, I definitely feel moved to help make his life easier as well and to do special things to make him feel valued.

But from time to time, the grand gesture is still appreciated. It's lovely to find out he still remembers to show up with flowers or take me out to a nice dinner and a show, and he's just as pleased when I arrange surprises, special moments to punctuate the long span of our shared lives, to underscore the fact that neither one of us takes it for granted. That we realize our time on this plane and in this place is limited, as is everyone's, and that makes it all the more precious.

Married romance isn’t often commemorated in art, books, or movies; most people find it too humdrum to be of interest. Which is exactly why we need to celebrate it in our real lives, as I did when I wrote the poem below for my husband years ago.

I’m normally very private about my poetry, but I’ll share this one on one condition: that some of you share with me your favorite romantic gesture, either one you’ve given or received.


I learned of distant suns once,
most of whom are paired.
I wonder,
do they circle warily,
always careful to avoid intrusions
into each other's prominence,
or, like us,
do they orbit in content companionship?

No flares between us any longer,
no supernovas yet,
no cosmic cataclysms
foreseen on the horizon.

Just a long, bright double orbit --
for this stretch of forever --
to wonder at,
to marvel
that this solar system's bachelor sun
has never known the like.
- Colleen Thompson

IMHO: What a lovely poem, Colleen. Your hubby is very lucky to have you, as are you to have him. Thanks for stopping by. So, folks, are you prepared to share your favorite romantic gesture with Colleen?



Minna said...

That's a lovely poem!

Lynne Marshall said...

I agree, that the poem is beautiful.

My husband is far more romantic than I am. Once he made me wear a blindfold (he bought me a new outfit to wear for the occasion, too, and I liked it!) then drove around in circles and crazy detours in order to keep me guessing about where we were going. This was in order to take me to a new restaurant that I'd only causually mentioned I like to go to.
He's the best thing to ever happen to me! I think I am to him, too.

I hope!

sarah said...

My husband just bought me bookshelves... can you get any more romantic than that?

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I sympathize with you on the broken arm as I broke mine the end of August. I think what made me feel loved the most is when I had cancer surgery and he waited on me hand and foot and kept coming to check on me to make sure I was still breathing. I know I scared him and ever since he's been very protective and tender. We've been married 40 years and I still get a tingle in my fingertips when I touch him. For me it was one of the "love at first sight" situations. :)

Colleen Thompson said...

Lovely stories. Husbands have their moments, don't they. Sometimes, they occur just about when we're ready to strangle them for various annoyances!

Thanks for the kind words about the poem!

CatherineKean said...

Your husband sounds like a sweetheart! I'm sorry to hear about your broken arm; I hope you feel better soon and are enjoying lots of TLC! One of the things I adore about my husband is his quirky sense of humor, the way he can make me laugh out loud when I'm having a stinky rotten day. He's also wonderfully warm to snuggle up to while we're watching silly British comedies. Thanks for sharing your lovely poem with us and best wishes.

Unknown said...

Love the poem.....Can someone else's romance count? I remember seeing two elderly people exchange a loving kiss while waiting for the elevator at the hospital. The look of love on their faces will always be in my memory. I have always wondered why they were there.

Colleen Thompson said...

Thank you, Catherine and RubyD. And elderly couples are often so open about the way they feel because the limitations of time sort of strip away the veneer. :)

Anonymous said...

Great poem, Colleen. Even though we're not together anymore, I have a favorite 'grand gesture' memory. I tend to be attracted to "lost souls," and my boyfriend once told me that he had never really celebrated Christmas in a big way; his family just didn't do that.

Christmas happens to be my favorite holiday. I enjoy giving presents, I love beautifully decorated Christmas trees, lights, the music, and the way people are just a little bit nicer and more charitable. I got the bright idea to bring Christmas to him the way my mother had brought it to us. One day when he was at work I brought over my Christmas decorations and put them all over his house. I framed all the windows with blinking lights so it could be seen from the street. I put flickering candles on the window sill. I strung lights over the top of his white picket fence in the front yard and up the walkway. I even strung lights on his front yard tree. Unfortunately, I also managed to fall off of the ladder while I was doing it, which took the wind out of my sails for a bit :-). I put on Christmas CD's. I don't cook, but I ordered a meal to be
delivered, along with some wine.

When he came home from work he was stunned. As he told me later, when he drove up he thought he had the wrong house until he saw me standing on the patio, waiting for him. He was incredibly touched that I had gone out of my way to do something so special for him. He had a get-together later that week and turned on all the lights to welcome everyone to his home, proudly telling them all what I had done. He was positively giddy.

LighthouseSandy said...

Lovely poem, Colleen. And I agree with you wholeheartedly on romance. How lucky you are to have your husband!

Colleen Thompson said...

Hi, Sandra. Thanks for the kind words.

Thanks so much to you, Tai Shan, for sharing such a wonderful, generous gesture. What a sweet memory!


flip said...

I wish that married romance was more apparent in romance novels and other media. Ameila Peabody created by Elizabeth Peters has a lifelong romance with her husband. In another blog, the author reminded everyone of that wonderful romantic and sexy couple Gomez and Morticia Addams.

love your poem.

Kerrelyn Sparks said...

Beautiful poem, Colleen! I hope your arm heals quickly... and your career soars!

Kerrelyn Sparks

aromagik said...

My husband romances me in countless small ways, all the time. From letting me sleep late on weekends (he likes the chance to share quiet mornings with our son) to cooking dinners without ever complaining, surprising me with a pretty potted plant and a handmade card for Mother's Day, to giving my butt a loving pat whenever I walk by... ;) He's definitely a keeper.


Theresa Lehr said...

Colleen- great insight on what constitutes love- mostly small acts that we have to be careful not to take for granted, and the occasional more time consuming or thought filled action.

My husband gave me an expensive leather briefcase when I first started writing in my spare time. I was shocked because we didn't have the money back then. When I questioned him, he told me I needed to look professional when I sold my first book and would have to go to New York. He has believed in me from the get go, and I love him for it.

Colleen Thompson said...

Hmmm. My earlier comment didn't post, so let me try again.

Thanks so much,Flip and Kerrelyn, for the kind words on my poem. Flip, your comment had me nodding in agreement, and thinking of how much I enjoy the evolution of the marriage of Eve Dallas and Roarke in JD Robb's In Death series. The story of a romance doesn't end with I Do.

Nice to hear from you, Aromagik and Theresa. I'm really enjoying hearing about all these lovely gestures. I particularly liked the briefcase story. :)

Meljprincess said...

Hi Colleen,
I didn't know you wrote poetry! I really enjoyed your poem.
I am an aspring writer and years ago my husband gave me a very nice blue fountain pen. Inscribed on the side were the words "Romance Writer".
He's a keeper!

Colleen Thompson said...

Thanks so much, Mel!

Your husband's gift truly acknowledged what's important in your life - and those are definitely the best kind (of husbands *and* gifts - vbg!)

traveler said...

I enjoyed this special poem. Yur are indeed very fortunate.

Asylumgirl said...

My husband's romantic gestures are small, but probably just when he sends me flowers for no reason or calls from work just to hear my voice.


Margay Leah Justice said...

My favorite romantic gesture is the gift of a single rose for no other reason than that he's thinking about you. Spur of the moment gifts are so special.

kansassweet43 said...

What a nice poem Colleen, unfortunatley i'm single at the moment. The ex decided that he needed a little something extra on the side, so needless to say he got
kicked to the curb. I would like to find the one, my parents are going to celebrate 53 years together in April and my father still waits on my mother hand on foot, they kiss all the time. Of
course the do have their little spats, but seriously who doesn't.
Can you be happy all the time? I don't know about that, maybe if I
find the Mr. Right I can find out,
wouldn't that be wonderful.

donnas said...

What a lovely poem.

Thanks for sharing.

Pam P said...

Beautiful poem, Colleen. I too think those small things are romantic, like lating you sleep late then cooks breakfast when you wake, or surprises you with a night on the town for some fun when you're stressed out.

Colleen Thompson said...

Thanks so much for all the kind words about the poem and the comments. I'm enjoying hearing about so many wonderful romantic gestures, big and small.

Earlene, I hope you'll find someone who deserves and treasures you to spend your life loving. But meanwhile, don't put loving your own life on hold! :)