I love you, John.

My first and last words spoken every morning and whispered into the dark of night.

Love changes everything. So, too, does the loss of that love. The landscape of life shifts. Colours change and fade. The anticipated path forward, once clear, disappears. Memories flare in flashes ignited by a song heard, the wisp of a scent, a familiar object touched, a photo uncovered by the turn of a page or mouse click on a digital file.

I close my eyes and I’m in that place where you were. Where we were and will be no longer. The longing pulls me back in time and I remember.

“Reservations” and every written word in the novels, novella and short stories that followed took root and flourished from idea to ‘I did it’ because John believed in me. He questioned the 20 year age gap between Alison Clarke and Darien McKenna but penned the recipes and menus Chef Darien would prepare in his upscale restaurant. He nudged me toward setting the romance closer to our home in the Midwest then got on a plane for the ride and experience of our life on the streets and boroughs of New York City that let me bring the lovers in my first novel to life.

John was my alpha and beta reader, my editor, publisher and publicist. He fed my muse and body. Fresh baked cookies stir the memory of chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin delights brought to my writer’s nook on Sunday afternoons while fiction flowed to words as scenes on the computer’s screen.

He crafted my author website, designed book covers, created and posted promo videos, and made the calls that scheduled book signings, workshop and conference appearances. He lifted boxes of books and set up signs and banners wherever the chance to connect with readers took us. Drove for hours through tiny Iowa towns until we found Harmony, the fictional place for “Heartland” where Darien met and fell in love with Miranda. He mapped out neighbourhoods in Chicago where private detective partners Eddie Emerson and Kelly Gillespie would follow leads and risk their lives for The UnMatchables clients.

Always and in every way he was by my side and had my back. John was more than my husband, my best friend and the love of my life.

John was my everything.

Despite my own reservations, after 19 years together in my hometown I followed him home to Canada. The landscape changed from urban to rural, fields to forest, Mississippi River to Atlantic Ocean. We’d seized the gift of time. The path ahead beckoned with words to write and films to produce. A future celebration of citizenship, new and renewed, and our 25th wedding anniversary.

We were was so looking forward to growing creatively and eventually old together. It was not to be.

The physical reality of Nova Scotia surrounds only me now. I walk the landscape alone.

Blog posts in “Real Life and Fearless Fiction” bridge the past with the present and into the future. I’ll reflect on how the people, places and events of my life experience have and will shape plots and scenes written and the characters that populate the pages.

The indelible mark John made on my life, and his unwavering belief in me, guides the words I choose and the stories I write. Our love story lives on here.

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