by Jeff Allen - April 16, 2023
You find a comfy chair and nestle yourself between a pair of soft, fluffy pillows. Your little pup jumps up into your lap as you flip open your notepad and take out a pen. The pen flows easily across the paper. All barriers vanish as you write from your soul, pouring your heart into the beautiful love letter crafted for that special person. After reading it for the third time, you’re amazed these words came from you and you tuck it away for just the right moment to be delivered.
Many authors include a love letter in romance novels. It gives insight into the characters’ personality. Novels are generally written in the third-person, a letter lets the character speak in first-person. Nicholas Sparks, the author of The Notebook, uses letters in his romance novels. I took his lead and included love letters in Leashes in Heaven.
Labor Day weekend is generally the official end of summer. The last big weekend to be outside enjoying the nice weather, many of us in New Jersey hit the beaches. Well, in 2022 for me it was something completely different. I’ll never forget it. My wife, Michele rushed me to the emergency room and within a few hours I was admitted into the hospital ICU with heart failure.
My aortic valve replacement which I had years earlier failed. My lungs filled with fluids and my kidneys were in all-out failure mode. Although nobody told me, I sensed my chances of surviving were not good; this was later confirmed.
Michele was my angel, not unlike she is with all the dogs at Monkey’s House. Thankfully, she was by my side as her nursing experience kicked in to make sure the doctors were on point.
My initial instinct was to get everything aligned – a text to a colleague from work telling her to be ready to assist Michele if needed. Next was a call to a close friend. “Get on my computer and send my latest manuscript to Pat.” Followed by a text to Pat, “Leashes in Heaven has to get published, no matter what!” Looking back that might have been a little extreme, but I needed my love story to get delivered. Much like the letter you ticked away, waiting for the right time.
At the time of the incident, I had spent about a year working on my manuscript. It wasn’t the 1,000+ hours I spent writing, revising, and editing; it was my love for Michele. Leashes in Heaven is my ultimate love letter to her. I needed her to read my words and let her know my feelings. Albeit fictional, my emotions align with the story. Many heard the term “Men are from Mars - Women are from Venus”, we don’t always communicate effectively. My writing clearly expresses my love for her.
I am thankful for once again being given another chance at life. Fully recovered I finished my novel, a heartwarming story. If you enjoy a good love story, I can assure you’ll love it… and hey, there are dogs in it too!