Finding love and Michael French

Today I’m participating in a group blogging! WOW! Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about finding love in unimaginable places. Why this topic? We’re celebrating the release of Michael French’s twenty-fourth novel. Once Upon a Lie (Terra Nova Books) is an exploration of the secrets families keep, and the ways those secrets can tear a family apart. Visit The Muffin to read what Michael has to say on finding love in unexpected places and view the list of all my blogging buddies. Visit Michael’s website  to find out more about the author. We also have a review of the novel here (and a giveaway).

Front Cover

So I’ve decided to post a couple of poems as my contribution to the topic of “finding love in unimaginable places.” One is about the night my husband and I fell in love (it appears in my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On):

Forty (plus) Years

He folds her in his arms
and looks down at her
with his deep blue eyes
and a small, closed-mouth smile
that shows just the hint of dimples
in his ruddy cheeks,
the way he looked
as he stood at her apartment door
on Mentone Avenue
that first night,
his hair straw-blond, cut short,
stuck straight up,
his beige raincoat
damp from the March drizzle,
carrying a bottle of champagne
under his arm.

He remembers how
after drinking champagne
after dancing so slow they hardly moved,
after she invited him
into her bed
they were up all night
exploring, tasting as they got to know
and feel every inch of each other,
stroking faces, necks, thighs, feet,
kissing, mouths open,
almost swallowing each other,
coupling, over and over again
until dawn and hunger
drove them out into the rain
to find a place to eat.

And though he admits nothing,
no nothing,
has ever come close
to that first night,
his memory of it
and the girl standing in the doorway,
with short dark hair,
in a tight-fitting yellow dress,
and black patent-leather stiletto pumps,
keep them joined together

The other is a poem I was asked to write for my nephew’s wedding ceremony a few years ago:

A Romance with Three Signs

Kelly and Jeremy are a vision
in white, khaki and teal
in this garden overflowing with flowers
and green lawn.
They are surrounded by family, friends,
and little children wearing
rainbow-colored ties and sashes.
But their journey was a little less than
the idyllic scene you see here today.

The handsome bald guy with the great smile,
and the fun-loving blonde-haired girl
with bright blue eyes
got to know each other over
drinks, dinners, emails,
and lots of time together just talking.
She found him very forward
even up for karaoke on their first date.
Though she noticed he used some cheesy lines
he was serious about her.
He wanted to call her his one and only
almost from their start.

But she wasn’t buying any of it.
She put off his ultimatum
until one day she showed up at his door
holding up the first sign:
I want to be your girlfriend.

And she opened her heart
to him. Over the next year and a half
they met each other’s families,
hung out with friends,
dressed up in fun costumes,
took a trip to Mexico,
and became best friends.
By then she wanted a future with Jeremy.
But, he wasn’t sure.

So, they broke up, until Ken,
Jeremy’s dad, was dying,
and Kelly became even closer
to Jeremy and his family.

They broke up again
after Ken’s death,
but not for long.
Two weeks later
Jeremy appeared at her gate
with the second sign:
I want to be your partner.

The best part is the day
Jeremy proposed.
It was last August 15, Ken’s birthday.
Jeremy wanted to create a happy memory
on a day that would otherwise be sad.
Kelly came in the door and there he was
on one knee with roses in one hand
and in the other, the ring and the third sign:
“Will you marry me?”

And, as all romantic stories end,
they live happily ever after.


You be the judge if these poems fulfill the assignment. I hope you’ll let me know.


About Once Upon a Lie:
Twelve-year-old Jaleel Robeson is on the run after the police in his tiny Texas town try to frame him for the death of his father. A world away, Alexandra Alex Baten is growing up amid all the material comforts a wealthy Los Angeles lawyer can provide. One day, a simple cup of lemonade unites their lives, leading to a maze of adultery and murder that shatters Alex’s youthful innocence and Jaleel’s struggle to reshape his life.While the forces of the law try to unravel the mysterious death•or at least find a scapegoat•the two youths see the trajectories of their lives entwine, unravel, and come together again. Justice, Alex learns, can be a strange and nebulous thing, easily enmeshed in webs of loyalty and betrayal. Justice, Jaleel finds, can be a powerful•but dangerous•rock on which to build a life of honor and courage. As their stories play out over the years in cities far apart, best-selling author Michael French fills the world of Alex and Jaleel with a cast of vivid characters both supporting and threatening their efforts to build a life that works amid the expectancies of others and their own conflicting drives.


About the Author:
A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and of Northwestern University with a master’s in journalism, Michael French is the author of twenty-four books: adult and young adult fiction, art criticism, biographies, adaptations, and gender studies. A native of Los Angeles, he also is a successful businessman, an avid high-altitude mountain trekker, a world traveler to developing countries, an activist, and, with his wife, Patricia, a philanthropist raising money for programs aiding teachers in Santa Fe, N.M., public schools, which are some of the most challenged in the country.

Author Links:
Thanks for being here today. I look forward to your stories of finding love in unimaginable places.


  1. Lovely stories and poetry. Very vivid imagery. Well done.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      Thanks so much, Sheila. So glad to have you visit Choices. Please come back again. All best. Madeline

  2. Beautiful poems, Madeline! I admire anyone who can write poetry. What a wonderful gift to give to your nephew and his wife. 🙂

  3. I enjoyed reading your poetry, Madeline! Great imagery and flow. Thank you for participating.

  4. Beautiful poetry! Thank you for sharing it.

  5. michael r french says

    Nothing suits poetry more that the subject love. Shakespeare proved that with his sonnets. The beat and imagery of your poems are so personal…well done.

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