Monday, August 20, 2012

LET'S ALL WELCOME LEEANN SONTHEIMER-MURPHY


    For Love Or Money

            My grandmother, a storyteller in her own right, gave me many old-fashioned phrases along with life advice, love, and some heritage.  She often would use the phrase ‘for love or money’ and it’s one which stuck in my head.  These days, with my lifelong dreams of being an author realized and I find myself chasing to keep up the pace, I’m often asked why do I write? Is it for love of the craft or for the money?

            The honest answer is – both.  I love to write.  I’m blessed or cursed depending on how it’s viewed.  I made up stories in my head as long as I can remember.  I applied early stories to my baby dolls or my Barbies.  I talked siblings and cousins into elaborate scenarios.  We didn’t just play ‘house’.  My version involved wagon trains and westward expansion, a variation I called ‘western days’.  I had another in which our actions happened in the past I dubbed ‘olden days’, easy enough since we all lived in vintage houses at the time.  I made up others like “Story of a Slave Girl” in which I danced with abandon to music on the record player (yes, I’m that old) while at least one male relative reclined to watch my antics in his role as the sheik, king, or prince.

            I probably wasted too much time in school from primary grades through colleges because I often scribbled stories if the classroom activities failed to capture my attention.  Even now, I see inspiration in almost everything – a flock of geese overhead (which I’ve seen two days in a row and it’s very early to see such in August round these parts), an overheard phrase, a lovely sunrise, or anything.  But it’s the mind set I have, a brain which wants to turn everything into a story, long or short.  Although I’ve only entered the world of novels as an author in the past two years, I’ve written for most of my life.  Some of it was published in a variety of magazines, journals, newspapers and online venues and some wasn’t.

            `Would I do it for free? No.  I wouldn’t.  While many folks these days have decided I am bloody, filthy rich because I have books out in the world, I’m not.  I’m actually a long way from it.  Heck, I don’t even have what I consider complete financial security.  How much would it take for me to feel rich or secure? I don’t know – but I would love to determine the answer.  Writing has become my business and it generates income.  I just received royalties this past week and yes, those royalties helped pay for some needed school supplies for my kids, office supplies to keep my cottage industry going and some groceries to keep the family fed.  But rich? Excuse me while I roll on the floor laughing with a pile of bills in my hand.

            So I write both for love of the craft, a love of story and also for money.

            Because after all, authors have to eat, put shoes on their kids feet even in the Ozarks, keep a roof overhead and have a little fun once in awhile.

From my latest release, a contemporary romance from Rebel Ink Press, Heart of the Ozarks, the blurb and an excerpt:

After St. Louis TV weathercaster Cole Celinksi loses his almost estranged wife and three children in a car crash, his boss orders him to take a leave of absence.  Against his will, Cole leaves the city in late May to find the rest and relaxation everyone else thinks he needs. Without anywhere else to go, Cole heads for Lake Dreams, a resort on the quiet side of Lake Taneycomo in the Ozarks he visited each summer as a child with his grandparents.  Some of his best memories were made in the lakeside vacation haven with his summer friend, Maggie.

Upon his arrival, Cole learns Maggie now runs the place.  Twenty years have passed but from the minute he returns, they reconnect and soon their mutual attraction ignites.  He fishes in the lake, takes Maggie to visit some of the places he remembers and begins to find out who he truly is. Before he can heal, he must learn to deal with his loss and to see if he can create a new family with Maggie and her children. It’s a task he’s not sure he can handle but if he wants to be with Maggie, he must. A near tragedy brings them all together into a close knit unit and afterward, Cole may be able to make his dreams reality.

           

Heart of the Ozarks – Sweet, Emotional Excerpt



Within a half hour, he fried all the fish, took the fries out of the oven and put a bowl of salad at each place.  They sat down at the small, rickety dinette table and before she took a bite, Maggie linked hands with him.  She said a simple grace and they shared the meal, the first one Cole truly enjoyed at the cabin since he arrived.  Supper evoked past memories of gathering around this table with his grandparents.  They’d eaten fish then, too, on many occasions. Cole recalled old times with a rush of nostalgia and joy, filtered through the decades.

The remembered sense of family rested easy on his soul and as he watched Maggie’s expressions shift as she talked and laughed, Cole felt like she was also family. He’d known her for most of his life and they were connected in a deep meaningful way.  A flash of guilt threatened to consume him because he’d never thought of Victoria as family, not in the way he did Maggie.  She’d been his wife but Cole hadn’t felt the same. To prevent self-reproach, he reasoned it wasn’t disloyal, just the way he felt.  He couldn’t change it or help it.

 A spectacular sunset commanded the western sky with a panorama of vivid color.  Most of the earlier clouds and rain moved away to leave behind the beautiful show. The red, orange and pink streaked sky created a stunning image.  Cole saw it through the window and pointed it out to Maggie.  They headed out to the porch for a better view and stood close, his arm draped across her shoulders.

“It’s gorgeous,” she breathed.  A rapt look of wonder lit her face. 

“Oh, yeah,” Cole said. “It’ll be fair tomorrow and sunny.  No more storms for now.”

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight,” Maggie said and Cole smiled too.  He relished the old weather folklore, the adages and sayings.  At the television station, he kept a collection of them in a special file.  Cole tried to come up with something witty to say back to preserve the moment but instead he noticed the rainbow, vivid and colorful, off to the far right horizon.

“Look, Maggie!” he cried. “Do you see the rainbow? God, it’s pretty.”

“Oh, how beautiful,” she said, looking up into his face. “You know a rainbow is a promise, don’t you?”

 Cole lacked words but not emotion.  He turned her to hold her in his arms and lowered his mouth close to hers.  “So’s this, Maggie.”

He kissed her.  Cole tasted her lips, soft velvet, and relished the taste.  Her mouth yielded to his without protest and her arms curled around his neck until her wrists rested on his shoulders.  He shifted until her body touched his and tightened his embrace.   The shared kiss touched off a fuse and Cole swore he felt the fire move through his body as it ignited every nerve.   Passion roused within but he tempered it with a care and grace, one shifting lust with tenderness.  Cole’s long dormant body revived and revved like a finely tuned race car engine.   Maggie’s flesh relaxed against him, gave over to his arms with open surrender.    If they stopped, he realized, it would be his call but Cole didn’t want to quit.

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1 comment:

Lee Ann said...

Thank you for having me a guest!