Thursday, July 30, 2009

An Interview with Austin Grant of "Journey To Forgiveness"

Laurean shifts in her chair, takes out her notepaper and pen, then looks into the most beautiful azure eyes you can imagine. The tall, blond hunk who owns them flashes her a crooked smile to reveal a dimple in his left cheek. He crosses his long, denim-clad legs.

Laurean: Austin Grant, I heard about an interesting encounter you had with a petite, blue-eyed blonde. Care to tell us about it?

Austin: (Shakes his head as if to gain sanity.) You must be referring to that pretty spitfire with the flashing turquoise eyes. (He guffaws). Yeah, but it was more like an explosion. Jenny Hinson needs to wear a sign around her neck that reads, "Danger: Explosives ahead." (He winks and conspiratorally leans toward Laurean). Know what, though? I love to get her riled..just to see the sparks shoot from her eyes.

Laurean: Now, Austin. That's not nice. A woman doesn't like to be teased all the time. She gets frustrated.

Austin: Yes, I know. But I can't seem to help myself. Jenny tries to appear cool and collected, but I know a volcano seethes just below the surface. (He scratches his chest) And...I'm just the one to set it off.

Laurean: (Clears her throat). Okay. Now what was that about Jenny's missing vanity case? Give us your side of the story.

Austin: (Folds muscular arms across his broad chest and grins. Mischief shoots from his eyes.) Oh, so you've heard about that? Funny thing. You're the first to ask my take on it. Well...well...where do I start? (Rubs the cleft in his chin and stretches his long legs in front of him).

I was minding my own business--savoring a good cup of coffee inside the Kankakee train station that beautiful spring morning when my boot heel struck something underneath the bench. I bent down and pulled out a small blue suitcase. When I yanked on the handle, it came open and I saw a print dress folded inside. (Laurean arches her brows). Yeah...I know. I let Jenny think I had pilfered through her things. That was my way of getting her goin. And whew! I was not disappointed.

Laurean: Did you try to explain what happened?

Austin: Are you kidding? Jenny was so mad when she found me with the case, that explaining was out of the question. She called me a thief and demanded that the guard arrest me on the spot. (Austin laughs) I can still see her face. She was fit to be tied. Then that train whistle blasted and she yanked the case from my hand. That's when it flew open and everything scattered over the ground. When I tried to help, she yelled, "Get away from me!" Jenny stuffed it all back inside, then ran up the ramp. Know what she screamed from the ramp?

Laurean: No, I don't. Please tell everyone.

Austin: (rubs the back of his hand across his mouth and chuckles) Jenny yelled, "I hope they throw you under the jail!" By then I knew that train was headed for Chicago. With a dose of luck, I might see her again.

Laurean: Did you?

Austin: Are you kidding? Less than two hours later I was getting ready to leave a little diner near the Chicago depot when I glanced toward the window. There sat that little spitfire in a booth sipping orange juice.

Laurean: Oh my! What did you do?

Austin: Now you tell me. What was the gentlemanly thing to do? (Laurean quirks a brow to signal Austin to continue.) I walked over and tried to get acquainted...only she didn't seem to be up for it. I thought we might start over on a civil note, but it was like I had thrown gasoline on a fire. Jenny kept glancing towards the ladies' room for some reason. And when I asked her if we could start over again, she hissed, "Over my dead body!"

Laurean: What did you do then?

Austin: Wasn't much I could do. Harry Tate was with me, and he was ready to leave. I turned back to her and said, "Who knows...we could meet again. I've heard that good things come in threes."

Laurean: (laughs) Austin, you rascal! You didn't! (Austin nods). And what was her response to that?

Austin: (snickers) Sorry. I couldn't resist. Her response? She was speechless. When I left, Jenny's mouth was gaped open.

Laurean: (looks down at her watch) Austin, looks like our time is up. One last question: What do you see in the future for you and Jenny Hinson?

Austin: (Mock-terror on his face). Future? I just hope I can live through the next encounter! (Shakes his head) Taking it one day at a time. (Purses his lips)To tell the truth, I love every minute of it. Can't wait to run into that little blue-eyed spitfire again. I'll be ready for her...armored suit and all.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meet Pamela S Thibodeaux!

Laurean: "Today our special guest author is the talented, Pamela S. Thibodeaux. Here she comes, folks! Give her a warm welcome!"

The audience applauds as Pamela sashays across the stage, sleek, black portfolio case tucked securely under one arm. She smiles and waves at the multitude. Pamela takes a seat, then props her portfolio case on the floor just so-so against her chair. She pushes back the cuff of her stylish silk, charcoal suit jacket and checks the time. After patting the collar of her red, silk blouse, she crosses her legs.

"Pam, I've heard that you are a master at multi-tasking. Can you clue us in on how you manage such a hectic lifestyle? What does your typical workday consist of and how do you pack so much into it?"

Pamela: "Well, Laurie...first let me thank you for having me here today on Laurean's Lore, such a lovely place to visit! My typical workday begins between 4 and 5 am. I get up, brew coffee (thank goodness for a Bunn that only takes 3 minutes LOL!), pour a 12 oz. mug of the steaming brew then head to my office where I check email, blog, promote and/or write. At 6:30 (7 at the latest), I hit the pavement for a walk/jog with my German Shepherd, Cassie. Sometime amidst all that I spend a few minutes with my husband, then it's off to the shower, dress and leave for my job. I work 8:30 to 5 as a licensed insurance producer.

"After work and supper, I'm back at the computer until 8:30 or 9 pm.--unless hubby finds a movie for us to watch. One thing that helps tremendously, Laurie, is I do my utmost to include God in all the thing I do on any given day. The Apostle Paul exhorted us to 'pray unceasingly' and 'in ALL things with prayer and supplication.' I try to do this by talking and listening to God throughout my day. For most people, when you say 'meditation' they have visions of sitting or lying in a trance-like state for long periods of time. In all actuality, the word 'meditate; means to contemplate or ponder. By keeping God and His word prevalent in my heart and mind throughout my day, I am more focused and productive."

Laurean: "My goodness, audience. When does she sleep? Maybe we coud all learn a few things from this lady." (Turns to Pam) "Now Pam, if you don't mind my asking... If you could change three things in your life, what would they be?"

Pamela: "The FIRST thing I would change is the fact that I have to work. You see, Laurie, my greatest desire is to stay home and write. Alas, God has not granted that wish yet. If I could go back and undo the mistakes I've made, I'd love to do that and I'd give my life to Jesus a LOT earlier on. About the other thing I would want to change is PERFECT health for my entire family -- children, grandchildren, and especially my husband whom I adore."

Laurean: "I believe God will honor your desires. Know that your family is in our prayers, also. You must have given that a lot of thought. Next question. Out of all the characters you have developed, with which one can you most closely identify? Take a moment and think about that."

Laurean presses a finger to her lips to shush the audience while Pam closes her eyes and taps a glossy, red nail against her chin. She opens her eyes, then turns to her host.

Pamela: Well, Laurie, as a writer yourself, I'm sure you can agree that we identify with some part of each of our characters. But if I had to pick just one, it would be Katrina in Tempered Dreams. As a battered woman, she had a lot of healing to go through. Since I'd experienced this to a degree in my life, I identified with her doubts and fears of ever being able to trust or fall in love."

Laurean: "Yes, Pam. I can understand that. No one should have to go through abuse. But with God's healing, we will become better if we don't allow it to make us bitter. Now tell us... If a movie were made from one of your books, which one would you select? Who would you choose to play the hero and heroine?"

Pamela: "Dream of all dreams. LOL! I'd love to see a movie made out of Tempered Dreams, book 2 in my 4-part series, as I believe the message of healing is important to all people -- abused or not. We all have things in our lives we need to overcome. Heroine -- Sandra Bullock, Hero -- Matthew McConaughey."

Laurean: "Two great choices. And what a blockbuster it would be!" (Audience whistles and applauds.) Sounds like your fans agree. Okay now, which one book out of those you have written, did you most enjoy writing? Please elaborate."

Pamela: The most fun to writ was Tempered Fire, book 3 in my 4-part series. All of the other stories had major spiritual issues to work through -- abuse, grief, etc. Although this one had its share of ups and downs, writing about a young couple in love struggling to do the right thing was lots of fun and a welcome break after the rollercoaster ride of emotions in Tempered Dreams."

Laurean: "How well I understand. We all need a break from depressing situations. Especially the news. It reminds me of the old Anne Murray song, Sure Could Use a Little Good News Today. And since peace and joy are fruits of the Spirit, we know God wants us to be happy and rest in Him. Now. Which book was hardest to write?"

Pamela: "Actually the hardest to write was my novel The Visionary which is as of yet un-contracted. This book deals openly and candidly with child abuse and the healing an adult survivor must go through. The manuscript is with an agent right now and hopefully, he'll place it soon. As for published books, Tempered Dreams was the most difficult to write."

Laurean: "I critiqued The Visionary, so understand why it was so hard to write. But it is well written and bears a great message of hope for the abused. The next question strikes a lighter note. Pam, in your wildest dreams, describe what you will be doing in five years. Dream big."

Pamela: "Laurie Dear, don't you know better than to ask a ROMANCE author to share her WILDEST dreams? LOL! Oh my...let me think...this is similar to the 'if you had a million dollars' question. Okay, here goes! In my wildest dreams five years from now I'll be living in a log home with a loft office and writing my next NY Times best seller."

Laurean: "Your dreams ar big, but remember: 'With God, all things are possible.' Don't give up those dreams. Could be that God has placed them in your heart for a reason. Now...which authors' books did you devour as a child? And how has reading them influenced your writing today?"

Pamela: "Oh my. Hard to answer that one, Laurie, as I read so much growing up! The first I can recall devouring were The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. As a young girl I read mostly books about horses, and those were my favorite. In fact, my grandfather painted a ceramic replica of The Black Stallion which I still have today. As a teen, I moved into the romance genre and can't even remember all those authors, since I read everything -- contemporary, historical. It didn't matter as long as the book was a romance. LOL!

Laurean: "I loved animal adventure stories as a child, too. Especially ones about dogs and horses. I want you to pause now and take a moment to think through this one. If you could write your own epitaph, what would you want it to say? Pretend you have all the space you need."

Pamela closes her eyes as if in deep concentration. When she opens them, she looks at Laurean and begins...

Pamela: "Loving wife and mother, kind and gentle with a creative mind and generous heart -- a true and faithful follower of Christ."

Laurean: "What greater legacy could one wish to leave behind? Now, in closing, would you like to say anything about your latest book? And share any links to websites or blogs with which you are associate, along with information about purchasing or reading excerpts/synopsis of your books."

Pamela: "My novel Tempered Joy, book 4 in the series, was released in July of 2008 from ComStar Media. This year, I had two short stories released from White Rose Publishing -- Winter Madness and a FREE read, Review of Love. Synopsis and excerpts of all my short stories as well as my novel, The Inheritance, can be found at White Rose Publishing.

"All my full-length novels are available in print form from and all my titles are available in Ebook from the publisher of All Romance Ebooks.

Excerpts and synopsis of my novels can be found a my website,

Besides my own blog, I am an active participant at the White Roses in Bloom blog .

Laurean: (Raises her hand and waves at the audience) "Pamela S. Thibodeaux, everyone! Did you enjoy her interview? Then give her a big hand!"

Ear-splitting whistles and deafening applause reverberate as the audience leaps to its feet. Pamela rises, smiles at her admirers and blows a kiss. She bends to retrieve her portfolio case, then straightens to smoothe her skirt. After tugging at the sleeves of her stylish jacket, she gives Laurie a hug. With one last wave at the multitude, she prances offstage to thunderous rounds of applause and shouts of "We love Pam! We love Pam!"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Shanghaied on Independence Day!

Have you ever been shanghaied by your significant other? Well, I was.

Saturday, July fourth started out like any ordinary day. Terry (my hubby) and I made plans to gravitate toward Jackson, Tennessee--70 miles south--and stop at every lucrative yard sale along the way. Terry buys and re-sells collectibles, antiques--pieces of interest. The direction we chose was the long way around, with the hopes that the best stops would be on that route.

After half dozen yard sales and a couple really nice buys, we stopped at the Antique Mall in McKenzie to pack them into our booth. While unloading our Ford truck, a young man with a strong resemblance to Eric Estrada(Chips), who happened to also be a cop (but from another district, thank God), pointed to our license plate. "Your tags are expired."

Yup. They had expired on June 3oth. Oops. We were faced with a dilemma. Should we go back home, or continue the next 45 miles and try to stay "behind" the police cars? We decided to throw caution to the wind. After all, we were over half-way to our destination.

By now you are thinking the word "shanghai" is related to the expired license plate. Not so. We saw a police car on two and held our breath as we lagged behind them in traffic.

After pigging out at Barnhill's buffet, Terry and I drove farther south through rural towns, enjoying the beautiful scenery and keeping our eyes peeled for more lucrative yard sales. We found a couple, then spent an hour or so exploring the Hickory Valley (Chicory Valley in my book) area, We took an alternative route back to Jackson. By now it was 6 p.m. I asked my husband, "Do you think we should eat again before we head home?"

" Eat? Yeah, we need to do that." Then he glanced at me, a mischievous gleam in his eye and winked. You wanna get a motel first?"

He had to be teasing--you know how men are. I returned the wink and played the game with him. "Sure." Only he wasn't playing.

Before I could protest, he had whipped into a less-than-desirable motel parking lot, and jumped out, leaving me with my mouth agape.

"You aren't serious!"

"You said, 'Sure,' and I'm keeping you to it." Without another word, he jumped out and marched into the office to confer with the stout Indian man. I watched as Terry pulled out the debit card. But, I still thought this was one of his games. Maybe he was just asking directions to somewhere. Only when he strode out with the key in his hand, was I completely convinced.

"But we didn't bring a change of clothes," I argued. "No tooth paste, floss, toothbrushes, deoderant. And what about make-up? And my hot flash supplements! I will not go anywhere without makeup! That includes to breakfast tomorrow moring," I declared.

"Well, I plan to eat breakfast." He was not giving an inch. "Now we will go to Walmart and get what we need."

"But...the dogs! Who will feed them? They will miss their supper. And I promised Yipper and Riley we would be back by dark."

"They won't starve to death overnight."

"But they will think I lied to them. And Riley was abandoned. That's how we ended up with him. He'll think he's been abandoned again." By the set of Terry's jaw, I could tell I had been licked. I took a deep breath and relented. "Why are you doing this?"

"I'm just tired of the same old routine. It doesn't hurt to break from every once in a while."

I quit arguing. We browsed Wal-mart. You wouldn't believe how long it takes to find the most economical brands of makeup. Are there any? The bare necessities, including a gallon of spring water, came to $43. We paid for our purchases, then found an "Outback Burger." After wolving down our sandwiches, we returned to the motel.

The first indication that things were not exactly as we expected came when I said, "We need ice." (I'm, a heavy water-drinker. Some think that quart, plastic fuschia thermos is an appendage).

A young woman came out of the adjoining room. Terry asked "Do you know where the ice machine is?"

"The machine is out of order. You have to go to the officeand ask for ice."

Terry strutted in that direction and returned carrying a small plastic sack, neatly tied. Just enough to fill my thermos. "The man said not to ask for any more. That was all of it."

Hmmm. The room was was muggy. Terry turned on the air conditioner, a window unit. Out blasted the jarring noise of a dull jackhammer combined with the shrill whir of a high-pitched vacuum cleaner. "We'll end up going home in the middle of the night," I groaned. "There is no way we can sleep to that!"

"I paid for this motel and we are staying the entire night," my hubby announced. "The noise won't bother me." I could believe it. The man could sleep through an air raid.

I turned to pick up the gallon of spring water we had purchased at Wal-mart. "I'll just put this in the fridge and get it cool." The compact refrigerator was unplugged. I reached behind and plunged the cord into the socket. Nothing. I pressed my ear against the refrigerator. Still nothing. "The refrigerator doesn't work."

Terry traipsed back to the office and returned within two minutes. "He said it doesn't work."

Hmmm. Oh really? What next? I shouldn't have asked. Terry picked up the remote. "At least we can watch TV. He pointed at the screen and clicked and...clicked. Nothing. This time he didn't bother to take a jaunt to the office. I glanced around the rooma and checked out the bathroom. A couple other items missing. A clock, and bath towels. But housekeeping was generous enough to leave two washcloths and two hand towels. The kind you throw on the floor when you step out of the shower.

By now I'm wondering, "Why didn't we just camp out?"

I asked to make a couple calls before retiring, but Terry's response was, "No need. They'll figure it out eventually." He kept the cell phone in his shirt pocket close to his it was a rare jewel. Of course, I probably could have slipped up during the night, found it, and sneaked into the bathroom. But by that time everyone I wanted to call was in bed.

We crawled into bed. I tried to sleep on my side with an index finger poked in one ear to shut out the jackhammer vibrating in the hole in the wall. After a couple hot flashes, I fumbled toward the bathroom and grabbed a washcloth. Soaking it thoroughly with cold water, I wrung it out and laid it on the floor beside the bed. It was a life saver. When daylight finally came, Terry stretched out and yawned. "I don't remember the last time I slept that hard. I mean I really went under."

I rolled my eyes, my head still pounding to the beat of the air conditioner, and my ears still whistling from its high-pitched shrill. "How could you sleep through all that noise?" I had climbed out of bed around 4:30 and turned off the ear-splitting contraption.

"Easy," he said so flippantly. "I just tuned it out. You've got to learn to do that."

"Ha! How can you learn to tune out a jack hammer? And yeah, you've had a lot of practice 'tuning out.'"

He ignored the comment. "Where you want to eat?"


Terry scarfed down bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns while I savored an omelet and pancakes. Mmmmm. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, probably talked more than we had in months.Then I glanced down at my watch. Ten minutes past ten. "You know what's happening right now?" He looked at me with a "huh?" in his eyes. "Everyone in Sunday School class is trying to guess where we disappeared to."

We arrived home just before noon. Our labs, Yipper and Riley met us with huge sad eyes. I would swear that Riley had been crying. His eyes looked moist. I gave the dogs generous amounts of food. When they finished eating, I sat down on the steps and cuddled them a few minutes, all the while apologizing for deserting them. My words, "Mommie and daddy will be back by dark," will probablay never be believed again.

After a relaxing afternoon, we arrived at our church's evening services. You should have seen the arched eyebrows and gaped mouths. "There they are! Where were you?"

I pointed an accusing finger at my husband. "I was shanghaied!" Everyone laughed. I'm not sure it was that funny.

With a Gemini mate, I'm still learning to "roll with the punches." And like the boy scouts I must "always be prepared"... for the unexpected, that is. Even over all my protests, I must admit that the unexpected escapade was refreshing.

Has anything similar happened to you? Tell us about it. I'd love to hear your adventures. Share them so we can all get a good belly laugh.