Romance author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Romance author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Greetings from New York, New York!!

Greetings from midtown Manhattan! My daughters and I arrived here on Sunday evening!


I'm already spinning an idea for a new novel based in the Big Apple but at the moment, it's more about play than work.


The Comanche Vampire will be released on July 18, the day I return home and I'll share the cover soon.  At the moment, I'm using a hotel computer but trust me, it's gorgeous!



Saturday, June 14, 2014

Love Immortal....Jove's Passion, book one of an exciting new series from Evernight Publishing!


 

In my late childhood years, on into my teens and forward, I found mythology to be fascinating.  I fell in love with the stories of old, the ancient powerful deities of another time and place.  I soon devoured my way through the Greek and Roman mythologies.  I moved onto to delve into Celtic gods and Native American beings as well.  And earlier this year, I had one of those slap the forehead moments with an idea I liked, an inspiration to write a series of short fiction titles about ancient gods who are living an ordinary life now that so few believe.

So the Love Immortal series idea was launched and pitched to Evernight Publishing.  Here’s the premise:

Love Immortal is a series of short (8-12 k) stories involving an ancient deity or being who falls in love with a mortal in contemporary times.  Designed for the Romance on the Go line, these tales each focus on a god or goddess from the past now living among humans in a rather mundane life.  But, since few believe in the old religions, they have little choice.  Their humdrum existence becomes far more interesting when each meets an ordinary mortal who become extraordinary to them.

The first book, Jove’s Passion, is now out and available.  Here’s the blurb:


Jupiter Jove, known these days as simply ‘Jay’, is so taken with journalist Skye Marcus that he wants more than a sexual encounter. Since the sky is Jove’s traditional realm, it seems somehow meant to be. She’s as willing as he but she has no idea who—or what—he really is or that he can control the weather.

When he tells the truth, she can’t handle it and runs from him. But Skye can’t stay away, returning to beg for a show of power that will change fate—for them both.

Here’s an excerpt and then buy oinks:

            “I prefer to be called Jay.”

            “But your given name is Jupiter Jove?” He thought he caught a teasing note in her voice.

            “Yes.” Jay decided to give very little information.  Let her extract what she sought.

            “No one ever called you Jupe, or even Jo?”

            He laughed. “No.  I’ve answered to Jupiter in the past or simply Jove, but Jay is simple.”

            “I suppose so.  Were your parents into Roman mythology?”

            Her question stunned him into a brief silence.  “You might say they were, yes.”

            “I couldn’t imagine any other reason for the name,” Skye said. “It’s unusual.  I’m sure you’re aware Jupiter and Jove are the same deity?”

            “Of course I am.  And tell me, where did you get the name Skye? The sky belongs to Jove, along with thunder.”

            “Ah, yes, king of the gods,” Skye said with laughter enriching her voice. “My mother’s grandmother came from the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  She suggested the name and my parents approved it.”

            So her family had strong traditions.  Jay liked that very much. “That makes it a very special name.”

            “Yes, it does.  Now, since it took me weeks to connect with you, let’s get down to business.  I’d like to interview you for my magazine, Skyewatch.”

            “Why?”

            Whatever reply she might have expected, Jay doubted it had been his blunt question.  If he threw her, though, she recovered with speed. “You operate a very successful weather consulting firm, one of the best in the business.  In addition, you’re young, single, and elusive.  People would love to know more about you, Jay.  In today’s world, the public is hungry for details about celebrities.”

            “I hardly consider myself a celebrity,” he protested, although the idea flattered him. “I’m not a rock star or movie actor or on television.  I don’t write books and I’m not known for my athletic prowess.”




Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Reading Season - Quite The Catch and More!!


Summer! It’s the season of sandals and shorts, swimming and beaches, lakes and rivers, amusement parks and big city attraction, travel and so much more.  For many of us, summer brings a slower pace and more time to read.  If you’re looking forward to diving into some new reads, I have several upcoming.  The first comes out this week from Evernight Publishing, a fast-paced romantic suspense called Quite The Catch.  It releases on Thursday, May 29 – here’s the blurb, cover, and excerpt:

Blurb:

Cherokee Federal Marshall Joshua Jericho Jenkins had a split second to choose his fate.  When he jumped from a railroad trestle into the river below, he could have died but if he hadn’t leapt, the men chasing him would have killed him for sure.

 

He’s rescued from the water by a nurse, Tina Barlow, who’s out scattering her grandfather’s ashes.  She takes him home and tends to his injuries.  He’s also suffering from hypothermia and she does whatever’s necessary, including using her body heat to warm him. As Joshua recovers, they’re falling in love fast.


Some short-term memory issues rise but once he remembers who he is and what he was doing, things take a dangerous turn.  Without time to properly prepare, Joshua and Tina face a gang of criminals and by the time the gunfire ends, lives will be lost.  Whose and what the future holds is anybody’s guess.



Excerpt:

            Awareness crept back in slow stages.  He basked with warmth, so comfortable he didn’t want to move or open his eyes.  As he roused, pain struck.  His lower left side burned with sharp discomfort and his body ached.  So did his head—he owned the mother of all headaches and he struggled to recall why.  He didn’t think he’d been drinking but something had happened to land him in bed.  Maybe he’d fallen sick or been injured but he couldn’t remember.

            He opened his eyes and frowned.  The strange room offered coziness in a rustic fashion.  The pine-knotted paneled walls, the plain white muslin curtains at the window, and the colorful patchwork quilt over him lacked any familiarity.  Where am I?

            Before he could collect his thoughts, someone spoke, a woman from beside the bed.

            “Hi, how do you feel?”

            “I hurt like hell,” he told her.  He didn’t think he knew her until he caught sight of her wide, beautiful blue eyes.  Somewhere, sometime he’d seen those before.

            “I’m sure you do, Joshua.”

            Joshua? The name failed to ring any bells. “Who?”

            She frowned. “Isn’t that your name?”

            His lips parted to tell her it wasn’t but he paused, uncertain.  Nothing came when he tried to summon his name from his brain. “I don’t know.”

            “You told me it was when I fished you out of the river.”

            “What river?” Shit. He didn’t know the answers to anything. The woman offered him a smile.

“Poteau River. Apparently you don’t remember.  Don’t worry about it.  You hit your head on the boat pretty hard so temporary amnesia isn’t uncommon But you’re north of Poteau and south of Spiro at the moment.”

            Maybe not, but the idea scared the bejesus out of him.  He tossed back the covers to get out of bed and search for his clothing. When he did, he realized he wore nothing but skin. But somewhere he must have a driver’s license or wallet or something.  

            The woman frowned and flipped the blankets over him. “You’re not getting up until we get your core temperature back to normal.  Let me get the thermometer.”

            Before he could process any of it or respond, she whipped out a device and loomed over him. “You’re not sticking that in my mouth,” he told her. “No way, lady.”

            “Tina,” she said. “My name’s Kristina but everyone calls me Tina. And, not to worry, that’s not where it goes.” She thrust the device into his right ear and used her free hand to hold his head still.  After the thing beeped, she pulled it out and looked at it. “You’re getting warmer but it’s still just 96.5.”

            Digital, he thought, the damn thing is digital. “What’s my temperature got to do with anything?”

            “You’re suffering from hypothermia,” Tina said. “I treated it first because it was the most critical but you’ve got a lot of other injuries.  Like I said, you banged your head pretty hard.  You were wounded in the left side, more of a graze than anything, although I imagine it hurts.  And you’re bruised all over your body from your wild trip down the river, not to mention your fall from the railroad bridge.”

            Either he had lost his mind or she had. For now, he didn’t believe any of it.  His body hurt, yeah, but more like he’d gotten into the losing end of a bar fight.  “I don’t think that’s what happened.”

            Tina shrugged. “Well, it is.  Now, I have no idea why you were running or who was chasing you, but I saw you jump from the trestle and hit the river myself.  Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t believe it either.”

            Joshua glared at her.  Her blue eyes met his, open and candid.  He liked the way her dark brown hair tapered around her face, chin length and straight.  Damn, but she’s pretty for a crazy gal. “I don’t remember any of that and I’d think I would.”

            “You should, within a day or two. If you don’t, we’ll deal with it then.


 

Also coming soon is Ryker’s Justice, also from Evernight, Jove’s Passion (book one of the Immortal Love series), also Evernight, and Gray’s Good Samaritan from Astraea Press.  More on the way as well include The Comanche Vampire and Carnival Glass.  Here’s the unedited blurb for Ryker’s Justice:

Home for Jude Ryker is the rugged Ozark Mountains.  When he returns as a Department of Justice agent to investigate a major moonshine operation, he doesn’t share his assignment with anyone.  As far as the locals know, he’s back, like a bad penny.  While he digs into the case for ATF, he puts in time as a handyman at a local inn. When he meets guest Nicole McAdoo, he wants more and before long, they in a relationship.  He shares first with Nicole, then with his family his true purpose. When he uncovers the truth about the moonshiners, things get serious and could prove deadly – for them both.

In the meantime, you can also read some of my previous titles including the bestselling Pink Neon Dreams or Stranger Danger, Quinn’s Deirdre, Byrd’s Desire or Love Tattoo!

You can find me and more about me here:

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Romance Author: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy


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Friday, May 2, 2014

Pink Neon Dreams....coming May 7th to an eBook retailer near you!


Bíonn dhá insint ar scéal agus dhá leagan déag ar amhrán

            My favorite Irish proverb says there are at least two versions of every story and a dozen version of every song.  As a writer and author I agree.  When I first began my upcoming new release, a contemporary romance from Evernight Publishing, titled Pink Neon Dreams, I had a beginning and I thought I knew how it would take shape and form. An earlier edition, titled Pink Neon has gone the way of the dinosaur and risen, stronger, better, edited with a finer hand, and emerged as a proverbial phoenix from the fire.  So, yes, there are two versions of this story but the newest, the one out on May 7, is the better.

 The novel begins with a woman driving a vintage fire engine red GTO over the hills and curves in the Ozarks, a woman too exotic to be a native with her dark skin and corn-rowed braids.  She’s brave, though, and bold as she comes to start over, to begin again in a different place in order to realize her dreams.  Here’s the blurb and when I have the cover, I’ll share it too.

Cecily Brown lands in Branson, Missouri after a divorce to start over.  She plans to make her long standing dreams of owning a boutique called ‘Pink Neon’ come true and forget the decade she spent trapped in a hellish marriage to millionaire jeweler Willard Bradford VI.  But, her ex-husband managed to get murdered on the steps of his mansion but Cecily doesn’t care. Her old life is history and she’s eager to move forward with the grand opening of her boutique. Her first customer at Pink Neon is a man, dark and mysterious and their attraction is intense. So is their first date which ends in intimacy and soon, she’s all but inseparable from Daniel Padilla.  Life’s good until Padilla admits he’s an FBI agent sent to check Cecily out. She reacts with anger but as she learns she’s become the FBI’s favorite suspect, she has to trust Daniel if she can trust anyone at all. As the investigation heats up, she ends up heading south with him to Texas, as she and her FBI lover try to discover who the real killer might be. But danger lurks and it’s going to get rough before they straighten things out….if they can

 

            So Pink Neon grew from a story about one woman seeking a new life and a fresh start to a romance between two seemingly unlikely people but it works.  I built it page by page, scene by scene.

Here’s a little taste to whet your appetite:

Tell her, you bastard.  Just spit it on out and handle her reaction.  She’s going to be pissed but better now than after you make love again.  He struggled to find a way to say it so it wouldn’t seem so damn bad or make him out a villain.  Daniel wanted to make her understand why he’d kept silent about it until now.  Somehow he needed to spin it so she wouldn’t hate him.

Deep in thought, he didn’t speak for a few minutes, longer than he thought because Cecily leaned over and shook his shoulder.  He inhaled her sweet, rich perfume and wanted to kiss her first.  The wine he’d drunk sent dizzy spirals though his head when he moved.

“Daniel?” she inquired. “Is something wrong? You zoned out on me.”

Her concern made it harder, but he looked up. “Cecily, I need to tell you something before we go any farther.  I should’ve told you up front, but I didn’t know it’d be like this between us.”

She frowned and made a furrow between her eyes. “Whatever it is, just tell me.  How bad can it be?”

“Try not to hate me, okay?”

“You’re starting to scare me, sugar.”

“All right, I’ll just say it straight out – I’m an FBI agent out of the Kansas City office. They sent me here to check you out.”

  Her amazing eyes turned to onyx. “For what?”

“Your ex-husband’s murder and the theft of two million dollars in jewels.”

The words hung between them, almost tangible enough to touch.  Daniel watched as the information sank into her consciousness and saw the terrible knowledge change the expression on her face.  A minute passed, then two, maybe three. “You think I did it?” she said.

“No,” Daniel said. “I know you didn’t.”

Cecily stood up and stood still.  She reminded him of the eerie calm before a tornado slams out of the sky or the pause prior to a thunderstorm unleashing fury from the heavens.  An almost pagan fear of the unknown seized his chest and he tensed, his earlier relaxation gone.

“How?” she asked.

Aware what he said might well either save his ass or trash it, Daniel came to his feet and faced her. “Everything I’ve come to know about you tells me you didn’t kill him and you wouldn’t.  You’re a hell of a lot more straightforward than that, and I know you didn’t take the jewels.  And my gut says so, too, for whatever it’s worth.”

“Uh-huh,” she said with her usual bravado, but he saw the tears glinting in her eyes. “Right.  Want to explain why it took so long to mention your career, G-man?”

He couldn’t.  But he tried. “I don’t know.  I was afraid you’d be pissed at me.”

“Yeah, I am,” Cecily cried in a voice sharp with the lilt of the Chicago neighborhood she’d called home. “That’s why you choked, on the fishing pier, isn’t it? You didn’t want to tell me.”

“That’s true, I didn’t because I already knew how attracted I was to you,” Daniel said.  It sounded lame even to him. 

“So how do I know any of this is real?” she asked.  A tear slipped from her eye to trail down her cheek. He wanted to wipe it away, but he didn’t dare touch her, not now. “Maybe it’s just all some bullshit FBI tactics to get me to confide in you.”

Her accusation hit him with force and Daniel knew, reeling, he cared very much for this woman.  Hell, maybe he loved her.  He’d never been one to believe in ‘love at first sight’ but he couldn’t deny the powerful attraction he’d felt from the second he saw Cecily.  Nor could he explain the closeness he felt to her or why he’d confided things he never spoke about.

“It’s not, querida,” he said. “It’s real, realer than anything I’ve felt in years.  I’ve been dead inside, but you revived me.  Believe me.  I don’t lie.”

Her eyes narrowed to slits. “Except when you don’t mention who the hell you are and what you’re doing.”

She nailed him to the wall with the truth. Daniel felt the sting of it. “Cecily, listen to me.”

“I can’t,” she said. “Not this minute.  I can’t breathe.  I need to think.”

 

            You can find more out about me on my Facebook author page:

From Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy


Pink Neon like my other titles will be available at Evernight Publishing, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Bookstrand, Smashwords, and All Romance Ebooks.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Devlin's Grace - releasing April 8 from Evernight Publishing


            Meet Devlin. He’s a flawed hero, with scars from his military service in Iraq and suffering from something not as easy to see – PTSD.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a specter haunting many men and women who have served our nation in armed conflict.  And it’s not limited to military people.  Anyone who suffers any type of extreme emotional trauma which included the possibility of injury or death can have PTSD.  Those who have read my recent blog post may be aware of my personal history with PTSD and why I’ve written about it.  In Devlin’s Grace, PTSD is part of what makes Devlin who he is and why he acts as he does.  Some readers may think the title sounds familiar and there’s a reason for that – an earlier edition came out from a former publisher a few years back but the new edition, out this Tuesday April 8 from Evernight Publishing, is stronger, enhanced, and intense.

            Here is the cover, one of the most amazing I’ve ever had provided for any of my works, courtesy of Sour Cherry Designs.  I’ve liked every cover they’ve created but this one is so evocative of Devlin and this story.  And paired with it, the blurb gives a hint of what to expect.
 
 

            Blurb: When Iraq war veteran Devlin rides his motorcycle into Gracie’s life, he’s everything she’s not, wild, wicked, and more than a little crazy.  Opposites attract because good girl, college student Gracie wants more of this bad boy.  She invades his personal space, takes liberties no other woman has dared, and although he struggles with PTSD, she sticks by her man.  He teaches her to live a little more and she helps him battle his demons.  If there’s any chance the shattered combat veteran can find his way back, Devlin’s Grace can help him find it.

                Devlin’s Grace debuts on the heels of a special promotion I held with my first indie title, a short story called Will’s Way.  Will’s Way also dealt with a damaged military veteran.  I offered it free for a few days and the response overwhelmed me.  I will donate one dollar for each download to a very worthy project for soldiers who suffer from PTSD, the Broken Soldier Ranch Project.  Readers downloaded it from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and other countries, enough to put it on the Amazon best seller lists each day of the promotion.  Reader reviews poured in as well and I’m humbled because apparently I did capture some of the emotions I hoped to portray.  I hope to figure out some type of way to give some of the proceeds from Devlin’s Grace to the Broken Soldiers Ranch Project again and also to Operation Paperback, another great organization who provides reading materials to military families and also to soldiers suffering PTSD in a Texas veteran’s hospital.

            Look for Devlin’s Grace beginning Tuesday April 8 from Evernight Publishing and as you wait, here’s a taste of the story….

           

Excerpt:

With a defiant glint in his eyes, he removed his t-shirt. “If you want to see the scars, you can see them all,” Dev said, voice harsh and hoarse. 

He revealed a torso dappled with terrible raised welts, both back and belly.  These scars were worse than the others.  Raised red ropes twined like vines over his flesh, fused and almost melted. 

The agony Dev must have endured was beyond anything she could imagine. Gracie’s eyes brimmed with tears.  They spilled over, down her cheeks with silent hurt.  One glance at his face, set hard and as stoic as a statue, intensified her empathy.  She laid her right hand on his back, his scarred flesh beneath her touch and with her left she touched the center of his chest.

Beneath her hand his heartbeat thumped, rapid but steady.  His eyes locked with hers and in them Gracie glimpsed flickers of his personal hell.   Confusion showed up, too, along with regret and maybe shame.

Whatever she did or said now would be pivotal, she sensed.  Based on her actions he’d either leave and be gone from her forever, something she didn’t want, or a new beginning would emerge, delicate and fragile.  If she took time to think, she’d be lost, so Gracie mined deep into her woman’s soul.  When words came, she spoke them, her voice soft and yet as constant as the evening stars.  “Oh, Dev, it must’ve hurt so much.”

“I don’t want your pity,” he said, a snarl transforming his face into something wolfish, alien.  “Don’t feel sorry for me, babe.  I don’t need charity, and I sure as hell don’t need you to tell me some dumb ass, feel-good bunch of shit.  So quit crying over me.  Maybe it makes you feel better, but it makes me mad.”

“It isn’t pity,” Gracie said. “I admire you.  It takes a lot of courage to overcome hurts like this.  I hurt for you, but I don’t feel sorry for you.  I hate you had to go through such pain, but I’m crying because I care.”

 His hard face softened a little. “Why?”

In this raw moment, she could give him nothing but honesty. “I don’t know, but I do.”

Then Gracie leaned forward and bent just enough to touch her lips to one of the ugliest lesions, the worst of the scars.  He shuddered as she kissed his chest and when she lifted her tear-streaked face, Devlin grasped her arms.  He held her in place and kissed her back, full on the mouth, without remorse or mercy.  

Gracie gasped with surprise.  His lips burned hers as if she kissed a devil fresh from the pit, but she liked it.  Her body answered his call, and her arms moved to circle his neck as she gave him back the kiss.

No man had ever kissed her with such thorough savagery or such hungry need.  Shy by nature, Gracie dated young men with quiet demeanors, who were bookish and bashful.  None dared to take her mouth and claim it with potent fire.  Her body charged with wild electricity.  Gracie’s response scared her, but not enough to move away from the flame. 

Dev ran his big hands through her hair, gentle and yet insistent, his mouth hooked tight to hers like a bass caught with a spinner and skirt.  At first his motions were a little clumsy, but as he continued, Gracie could tell he knew exactly what he was doing.  Even with her limited experience she knew he kissed well.  Like a child told dessert was out of the question, she craved more regardless of the consequences.  She leaned hard against him, her hips moving against his body in a dance older than time.

Without warning, he pulled away, panting, and stared at her with wide eyes.  Dev outlined her bottom lip with his upturned thumb and shook his head. “I’ll be damned.”

Head cocked, she queried him. “Why?”

“You didn’t run and you liked it.”

 

Here’s where you can find out more about me:

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And here’s where you can learn more about the Broken Soldiers Ranch Project and Operation Paperback:




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

FREE Ebook download - and why I care about PTSD


            The summer before my grandmother died at the age of ninety-four, I returned to my hometown to visit her and other relatives, to touch the past and remind myself how it created a foundation for the future.  As we talked about my grandfather, she seemed glad I remembered him with loving fondness, even though she divorced him after a series of events that left her needing more.  “You got the best of him,” she said. “I’ve often thought so.”

          Perhaps I did.  Most of the time, I saw him at his best, the good times when he was smiling.  He loved me.  I remember the way he would grin down at me when he took me around the neighborhood where they lived, making stops at the dry cleaners below their apartment where he worked as a presser, the drug store on the corner, the bus barns, the grocery store and say, “I’ve got the kid today.” He meant it to sound like he was complaining but no one bought it.  His smile gave the truth away.  He taught me to pitch horse shoes and he was the best I’ve ever seen.  He made a ringer almost every time through sheer skill.  Sometimes he rolled up his shirt sleeves and filled my grandmother’s deep double sink in the kitchen full of water so we could play “boats” with several plastic toys he’d found somewhere.

          On Christmas, he and my other grandfather took turns helping me open gifts and using their pocket knives to cut the tight ribbons everyone seemed to wrap around each present.  He possessed a fine, dry wit and he used it with skill.  He loved to joke and he knew everyone or so it seemed to me.

          But he had served in the US Army, in the Pacific Theater during World War II.  He was on an island called Leyte in the Philippine Islands.  Unlike many of the soldiers who served in that war, he wasn’t a kid – he was in his early thirties and enlisted by choice.  The younger soldiers nicknamed him “Pop” and he did his damnest to look out for them.  In a strange coincidence, I called my other grandfather by the same nickname.  He saw plenty of action and for the remainder of his life, shrapnel would work its way out of deep in his body without warning.  It could be painful but he endured it.  When he talked about the war, like a lot of men who lived through hell, he said little but what he did, painted a terrible and vivid picture.

          He and my grandmother wrote to each other during the war.  She was a young widow and they never met until he came home.  In what always seemed like a very romantic story, an event that almost insured they would wed, when he got back, he arrived at her house in the middle of the night.  Rather than wake her up, he slept on the porch and she found him there when she came outside to bring in the milk.

          But he knew a darkness no one could touch.  Most of the time, he remained sober but sometimes, when the terrible memories bombarded him or something triggered what we now call PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), he drank hard.  When he was drunk, he changed and became almost another person.  The genial man I loved so much would become a ravaged monster or so it seemed to an impressionable child.  Then, he would talk about some of the things that happened in the Philippines or relive them.  He also suffered from nightmares and once woke my grandmother with his hands around her throat shouting, “Die, you Jap, die.”  He stopped when he awakened and was heartsick about it.  She forgave him but she didn’t forget.

          He tried to curb his drinking problem, one he hadn’t possessed before the war.  Once, he checked into the veterans’ hospital at Wadsworth, Kansas, a huge, sprawling place dating back to the 1880’s.  We visited him there and one memory stands out in my mind, stark and tragic.

          We walked along a long corridor with many windows.  Sunlight danced on the tiles ahead of me.  Men lined those hallways, many of them in wheelchairs, missing limbs or other parts.  Before we advanced, he told our family not to engage any of them in conversation and to not pick up anything the men might drop.  As the bitter veterans cat-called our group, one tossed down a package of cigarettes. Forewarned, we walked around it.

          As a little girl, dressed in a frilly dress, skipping along, I had always been loved by the elders.  My grandparents adored me; so did the huge cast of our extended family.  But on that day, some of the men made remarks about and to me.  I never forgot.  On that day, my grandfather was not like them but Lord help us, he could be. 

          I seldom saw him at his worst. The adults shielded me from that and I’m sure he was glad that they did.  I was still very young when my grandmother went into the hospital for what should have been a routine operation.  The surgeon botched it and she almost died.  Her condition became critical and they didn’t offer much hope.  During the same time, my great-grandmother, her mother, suffered a fatal stroke after some relatives told them how ill my grandmother had become.

          Unable to deal with the possible loss of his wife, my grandfather went home and got very drunk.  And he didn’t return to the hospital for a few days, not until he sobered up but for my grandmother, it was the final straw.  She decided life was too short to live the way they had for so long and chose to divorce.  Caught in the middle hurt me – I loved them both. 

          PTSD wasn’t even a diagnosis at the time.  I’ve often thought if it had been better understood and my grandfather could have received the kind of help and helping he needed, things might have been different.  When my grandmother asked my mom to let him stay with us for awhile, she refused. I wish she had.  And now you know why I care about PTSD and why I sometimes write about it.

          By the time he died in 1974, my grandmother had remarried to a man I never could consider a grandpa in my heart.  My grandfather is buried with a veteran’s marker in a cemetery in the small town of Fillmore, Missouri.  He was born and raised near there.  He lies among a lot of other family members in that fat farmland, rich country where corn, soybeans, and other crops grow fine. 

          So PTSD shadowed my life.  I could list other family members and friends who also were affected by it but won’t because I’ve rambled on long enough.  I have written about many things, personal and often private, but this is one of the most difficult pieces I’ve written in a long time.

          And it’s meant as an introduction as to why some of my characters suffer from PTSD.  Right now, my story Will’s Way is available to download free on Amazon.com.  It will be through April 4.  For each download, I am donating one dollar to a very worthy project called Broken Soldiers Ranch Project.  It’s a place where veterans with PTSD can go to heal and to be understood but not judged. Look it up. 

          Next Tuesday, my novel Devlin’s Grace will be out from Evernight Publishing.  You may or may not have read an earlier publication of a first version from another publisher but this is enhanced, well-edited, and a poignant love story.  The hero, Devlin, also suffers from PTSD.

          Here are the links for the free download of Will’s Way:

           When Marine Will Nichols returned from Afghanistan with some serious scars, he retreated from almost everything and everyone.  His late night radio talk show is the one place no one can judge him by his appearance but he lives lonely.  One of his regular callers, however, Samantha Callahan, manages to catch both his fancy and affection.  No matter how he feels, though, he refuses to meet her because he fears she’ll reject him.   But stubborn Samantha doesn’t give up easily and cares enough to take a chance because where there’s Will, there’s a way.

 


And here is the blurb for the upcoming Devlin’s Grace as well:

 

When Iraq war veteran Devlin rides his motorcycle into Gracie’s life, he’s everything she’s not, wild, wicked, and more than a little crazy.  Opposites attract because good girl, college student Gracie wants more of this bad boy.  She invades his personal space, takes liberties no other woman has dared, and although he struggles with PTSD, she sticks by her man.  He teaches her to live a little more and she helps him battle his demons.  If there’s any chance the shattered combat veteran can find his way back, Devlin’s Grace can help him find it.

Here’s an excerpt from the novel, out April 8th, where ever eBooks are bought and sold:

. “If you want to see the scars, you can see them all,” Dev said, voice harsh and hoarse. 

He revealed a torso dappled with terrible raised welts, both back and belly.  These scars were worse than the others.  Raised red ropes twined like vines over his flesh, fused and almost melted.  The agony Dev endured was beyond anything she could imagine and Gracie’s eyes brimmed with tears.  They spilled over, down her cheeks with silent hurt.  One glance at his face, set hard and as stoic as a statue intensified her empathy.  She laid her right hand on his back, his scarred flesh beneath her touch and with her left she touched the center of his chest.

Beneath her hand his heartbeat thumped, rapid but steady.  His eyes locked with hers and in them Gracie glimpsed flickers of his personal hell.   Confusion showed up, too, along with regret and maybe shame.

                Whatever she did or said now would be pivotal, she sensed.  Based on her actions he’d either leave and be gone from her forever, something she didn’t want, or a new beginning would emerge, delicate and fragile.  If she took time to think, she’d be lost so Gracie mined deep into her woman’s soul.  When words came, she spoke them, her voice soft and yet as constant as the evening stars.  “Oh, Dev, it must’ve hurt so much.”

                “I don’t want your pity,” he said, a snarl transforming his face into something wolfish, alien.  “Don’t feel sorry for me, babe.  I don’t need charity and I sure as hell don’t need you to tell me some dumb ass feel good bunch of shit.  So quit crying over me.  Maybe it makes you feel better, but it makes me mad.”

                “It isn’t pity,” Gracie told him. “I admire you.  It takes a lot of courage to overcome hurts like this.  I hurt for you, but I don’t feel sorry for you.  I hate you had to go through such pain, but I’m crying because I care.”

                 His hard face softened a little. “Why?”

                In this raw moment, she could give him nothing but honesty. “I don’t know, but I do.”

                Then Gracie leaned forward and bent just enough to touch her lips to one of the ugliest lesions, the worst of the scars.  He shuddered as she kissed his chest and when she lifted her tear streaked face, Devlin grasped her arms.  He held her in place and kissed her back, full on the mouth, without remorse or mercy.   Gracie gasped with surprise.  His lips burned hers as if she kissed a devil fresh from the pit, but she liked it.  Her body answered his call and her arms moved to circle his neck as she gave him back the kiss.

 

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