Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!
If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!
The Sweet Fruit of Romance
My husband and I have been together since we were teenagers. Gift-giving has always been a bit confusing for us. I like to give home-made sentimental gifts. My husband likes technological gadgets and expensive over-the-top gestures.
You’d think after thirty years of togetherness, we would have figured out how to do the gift thing, but we still struggle. I will give him a family photo in a frame, and he’s disappointed it’s not a fishing rod. He’ll get me the latest iPod, and I’ll pretend to be happy. What I really wanted was a home-made card and a bouquet of my favorite garden flowers.
The year after I had a heart attack really upped the ante. That heart attack was an eye-opener in many ways. Most importantly, it showed us how much we love each other and how strong our marriage is. When my birthday rolled around—and boy, was I happy to be alive and celebrating—Carl was under a lot of pressure to purchase the perfect gift.
I expected a high-roller weekend to Vegas or something along those lines.
But that’s not what I got.
When it came time to present me with my gift, Carl sheepishly asked me to go outside.
There, sitting on the front lawn, was a pot with a stick in it.
Well, technically, not a stick but a fig tree. However, the fig was small and scraggly and pretty pathetic-looking.
It was the most beautiful thing in the world!
Carl knew I always wanted to grow my own fruit—even though we’re stuck in the middle of suburban Boston.
And so he got me a fig tree in a pot, with promises of luscious fruit and dense foliage and years to grow and prosper.
I cried like a baby. It’s my favorite gift of all time. Still is, to this day. It was the perfect symbolic gesture to show how much he loves me and knows me and had every intention of spending the future together.
So, what happened to the fig tree?
Every year, it gets exactly ONE fruit. One. My neighbor has a fig bursting with fruits. He offers them to me each summer. But I’m still proud of my scraggly little tree. That one little fig—dangling from the branch, holding on for dear life and determined to make it—is the sweetest fruit of all.
Julia Barrett – juliarachelbarrett.net (at Amazon) – is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is beautiful and emotional and very romantic. BEAUTY AND THE FEAST was my introduction to Julia’s work. It is set in the Napa Valley and includes very sensual and lush descriptions of food. It’s a wonderful example of sexy and romantic foodie fiction.
Questions for the Author:
Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.
Most romantic thing I’ve ever seen in my life…
One day while I was walking around Newport, Rhode Island with my husband, we happened to stroll by Trinity Church at the top of Queen Anne Square. For those of you not familiar with Newport, Trinity Church is a gorgeous historic building from 1698. Just at the exact moment we walked by, the doors flew open on the little building next to the church. A bride and her entourage paraded onto the cobblestones. She was laughing with joy, her veil was blowing in the breeze, and the sunshine illuminated all of the women in their romantic gowns. They clasped gorgeous bouquets as the sun set behind them. They walked about twenty steps to the church, opened the doors, and went inside. I knew the bride was going into that church to marry the man she loved, stepping into a new life.
This entire thing happened in about a minute. That’s all. But I stood there with tears in my eyes as I watched the women disappear into the church.
When I turned to my husband and said, “Wasn’t that incredible?” he answered, “What?”
He missed the whole thing!
Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.
My good friend and author Bobbi Ruggiero shares my love of romantic things…fine wine, soul-crushing music, lush garden blooms, the magic of a hummingbird in the summertime.
Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?
Absolutely! One of my favorite places is the Newport beach near my husband’s childhood home. There is nothing more romantic than strolling along the sand, with the cliffs to one side, St. Georges cathedral at the top of the hill, Sachuest Point behind you, and hopefully a Del’s Lemonade truck waiting at the lot. The beach is surrounded by wild Rosa rugosa, and you can smell the gorgeous fragrance everywhere. Walking on that beach at sunset is pure romance.
Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?
My favorite fictional romantic couple is Derek Craven and Sara Fielding from DREAMING OF YOU by Lisa Kleypas. He’s the ultimate rough-and-tumble bad boy, and she’s a prim-and-proper author who has led a very sheltered life. The romance and chemistry between these two characters is swoon-worthy!
Tell us about your dream date.
I had it! My husband took me out for a birthday dinner in Vermont many years ago. We were sitting outside on the porch enjoying a glass of wine. All of a sudden, a hot air balloon came floating along the Ottauquechee River. It was so unexpected and gorgeous and romantic. Loved that date!
Penny is generously giving away a copy of A TASTE OF HEAVEN to one U.S. reader (apologies to international friends). To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Aug 10, 2016. Good luck!
(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)
Penny Watson is an award-winning author of quirky fiction, a beard aficionado, a lover of cocktails, and a plant geek. She lives outside of Boston with a fly-fishing obsessed husband, two spirited Filipino kids, and a wiener dog.
Buy Penny’s books:
*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help and support!