Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guy's Angel by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Historical Romance


Guy’s Angel Guest Blog – Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Sometimes writing a novel reminds me of putting together a recipe. You take a variety of ingredients, stir them all together, cook for awhile and if you’re lucky, the end result is something worthwhile.  In writing Guy’s Angel I put together many elements from my past, my hometown, the stories I grew up hearing from my grandparents and other older relatives, my own appreciation for flight, early women aviators like Amelia Earhart who grew up just down river from me in Atchison, Kansas, some romance, and a little more.  Add some seasoning and flavor from the real St. Joe circa 1925, toss in a few mythological Valkyries, add Boss Tom Pendergast in a cameo appearance, and you’ve got it – my newest release, Guy’s Angel.

       
            When a young woman really believes the sky is the limit, amazing things can happen…
Lorraine Ryan wants to fly airplanes so she heads for the local airstrip in 1925 to make her dream come true.  Most of the flyboys think she’s cute but a woman’s place is in the home, not the cockpit.   When Guy Richter steps up and offers to teach her to fly, she’s captivated with both Guy and flight.  He nicknames her “Angel” and takes her up into that wild blue yonder.  Before long, they’re deep in love.
Love, however, isn’t always enough……
Guy, a former World War I flying ace, is haunted by his past. His demons include his war service, the death of his only brother in an accident the previous year, and the Valkyries that he evaded in France who trail him in the hopes that they can complete his destiny.  But his dreams lie with Angel and as they grow closer and closer, he soon realizes that if anyone can save him, it’s his Angel.




 


Fifteen minutes later, Guy came driving across the bottoms in an old flivver, dust rising behind him in a cloud trailing behind. He pulled up to the hanger and got out with a white grease-spotted bag in his hand.
“Put on the coffee, old man!” he called. “I brought sinkers!”
After a cup of Joe and a sugar donut, which she broke in half to dip in her coffee, Angel asked him if they could fly.
“No dice, doll,” Guy said. “We got weather coming in and the last place you want to be if it storms is up in the clouds.  I’m sorry, Angel.”
 “So what are you going to do?” she asked, as disappointed as she felt the Christmas she didn’t get the Kewpie doll she longed to receive.
“I don’t know.  Rainy days, I hang around here and play cards or just flap my gums,” Guy said.  “I sometimes tinker with my Jenny but that’s about it unless I decide to go home and take a long nap.”
Pop cackled as he nabbed another donut.  “I’ve seen you sleep here, son, many times.  How’s your leg doing with the rain coming?”
Angel didn’t understand and looked up at Guy who shrugged.  “Fair to middlin’ so far.  I think I’ve got a piece of shrapnel working out of my right shoulder, though.”
“What do you mean?” she asked, unable to contain either her curiosity or her concern.
Guy smiled without mirth.  “I’ve got a few old war wounds that still kick up sometimes.  When my plane went down, I busted my right leg pretty bad and sometimes when it’s damp or rain’s coming, it bothers me. I got shot up too and sometimes I get a little piece of metal or glass working up to the surface.”
“That must hurt,” Angel said, as she made a sympathetic face.
He nodded.
“Let me see.”
Across from them, Pop rolled his eyes behind Guy’s back but she ignored it.  After a moment of hesitation, Guy pulled off his flight jacket and unbuttoned his blue shirt with red stripes.  He slipped his right arm out of it so she could view his bare shoulder outside of the A-shirt he wore. She could see the raised, puffy area and touched it with one finger.  Guy winced.
“That’s it.”
“Can I do anything to help it work on out?”
“Nah, I don’t think so.  I’ve heard some fellas cut it on out but it would just hurt all the more,” Guy said.  “It’ll do.”
Loath to touch it again because it would increase the pain, Angel put her hand on the top of his shoulder, away from the shrapnel.  Beneath his A-shirt, she saw the raised white scars from a terrible burn, some places still almost crimson. Angel touched one, her fingers caressing the roughened, damaged skin.
“Did this happen when your plane crashed, too?” she asked.
“Yeah,” Guy said in a sharp tone warning her to shut up.
Without another word, he put his shirt back on, then the jacket. She watched as he pulled a flask from his hip pocket and drank. Angel caught the smell of homemade whiskey, rank and almost harsh but she didn’t say a thing. She wanted to fuss over his old hurts but she knew he wouldn’t like it. She ached to say something comforting or soothing but she couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t seem like pity.
Pop glowered at her as he took a drink of his own.  Still dressed in her old percale black and white check shirtwaist dress, Angel wished she’d just gone to work.  The first raindrops splattered against the roof, portending a dismal day.  Both men, Guy and Pop, stared into space with pain-filled eyes. If it hadn’t been pouring, she would’ve started hoofing back toward town, she thought, miserable she somehow caused them both to start drinking.  She opened her mouth to ask Guy if he could run her back to town so she could go to work after all when a huge roll of thunder exploded overhead, strong enough to shake the hanger.  Sharp, bright lightning flared outside the open hanger door at the same time.  Although it made her own nerves jangle, she didn’t expect Guy to leap from his seat on an upturned old bucket and hit the dirt.
Her hands flew to her mouth but before could respond, the old man moved with speed to tap Guy’s shoulder.  In the kindest voice she’d heard from him yet, he said,
“Come on, son, get up.  It’s just the damn storm.”
A white-faced Guy rolled to a sitting position and then stood up, looking embarrassed.  He didn’t meet her eyes and as she racked her brain for something to say that wouldn’t offend, he began shaking as if he suffered a harsh chill. His body trembled and his hands quivered.  Before Pop could say a word, without thinking about anything but consoling Guy, Angel stepped forward and put her arms around him.
“Hey,” she crooned. “Hey.  Everything’s jake.”
After a moment he hugged her, his body still quaking against hers but as he hung onto her tight, like a life preserver in a floodtide river, the shivers started to ease until they just held each other, still and close. She heard Pop snort at some point, listened to his footsteps back away across the hangar but she didn’t care.
Once calm, Guy lifted his head and kissed her, his mouth needy and urgent on hers.  He all but poured all his turbulent emotions, his fear, his stresses, and his passion into her through his mouth and she took it, let him fill her until she brimmed over with feelings, his and her own.
Something kindled within her and smoldered, a new, darker, richer thing than she ever felt before.
Every inch of her skin prickled with want and each of her inner, secret places she seldom even named moistened with her body’s response to his lips.  Guy kissed her until her breath came short and fast, until she thought she might swoon with dizziness as her world rocked to its very foundation. If he asked, she would’ve done anything, right there, on the hangar floor, in front of Pop but instead, after an endless time, they shared a kiss lasting forever.
Guy released her.
“I need you,” he said. “Let’s beat it.”
He took her hand and led her out of the hangar into the pouring rain.  By the time they climbed into his flivver, both were soaked to the skin.  Her wet dress enhanced everything and her nipples, aroused from his kisses, poked through the fabric with indecent force.  Although she heard more thunder and saw lightning flashes, none were as intense as the first. As he drove with speed through the driving rain toward St. Joe she never asked where they were going or what they would do. She knew.


Lee Ann, welcome!  Thanks so much for stopping in.  I’m  thrilled you are here.

To get started would you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a rebel and a dreamer who lives in a small town in the Ozarks, a long way in more than distance from the urban blue collar neighborhood of my childhood.  I’m married with three children.  I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents as a child – they were my caregivers while my parents both worked.  They raised me as they had their own children so I’ve always been a generational anomaly, out of sync with my own time just a little.  Maybe it’s why I like history so much!

When did you begin writing In the Shadow of War?  What inspired this book and how much research was involved in writing it?



My first efforts at writing this novel were about three years ago but I couldn’t quite get the beginning right.  Last summer, I sat down and decided this time I knew where to begin and it went from there.  The book was inspired by the fact the small town where I live, Neosho, MO, was impacted in a huge way when the Army opened a training camp just outside town as World War II began.  Although Camp Crowder (which Mort Walker, once stationed there, made into his fictional Camp Swampy for his Beetle Bailey strip) closed long ago, the remnants remain.  I also grew up listening to stories about “the war” and I adore the music of the period.  All the elements came together as inspiration.  I did an amazing amount of research – even with my background which includes a BA in history.  I read soldiers’ letters, local accounts of the 1940’s, visited the back country where bits of the Army camp remain, and more.



Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?



Since I bought my laptop, over a year ago, I take it to write in all kinds of places, at a local café, the park, out on my deck, library, hotel, anywhere.  I get a few strange looks especially at the café because no matter where I’m at, I can tune out everything and focus.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven't gotten around to yet?

I’d like to visit Alaska.  It’s one place I haven’t been but I’d love to see it.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? I think I remember the concept, lol.  I like to read, research history and genealogy, travel, and just hang out on the front porch to enjoy the world around me.

Are you an early bird or a night owl?


By nature, I’m a night owl but circumstances (like my husband’s work schedule and having kids) force me to be an early bird.

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?



It’s hard to narrow it down to one person because I had a lot of encouragement from family and friends but I’d have to choose Mr. Gary Sims, one of my high school English teachers.  In high school, I was more like The Outsiders, SE Hinton’s classic YA novel than Sweet Valley High or

High School Musical.   Mr. Sims read one of my compositions aloud to the class, made them guess who wrote it (and no one guessed me) and proceeded to tell them it was the finest composition a student ever wrote in his class.  It’s hanging on my office wall now, marked 100% A Beautifully Written…..and I dedicated one of my novels, Witness Protection Program to him although he’s now deceased.



That's it from me for today, Lee Ann.  It's been great getting this opportunity to find out a little more about you! 

 



Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy writes romance from sweet to heat, from historical to contemporary.  She grew up in a blue collar neighborhood in the old river town of St. Joseph, Missouri where the past always seemed close enough to touch.  Her Granny shared stories of love and life and when Grandma took her along to the beauty shop, Lee Ann learned more than any child should about romance!  As soon as she could, she did her own field research into the subject. 

            Her romance novels for Rebel Ink Press include Love Never Fails, Witness Protection Program, Sing We Now of Christmas, A Patient Heart, In Love’s Own Time, Miss Good Samaritan, In The Shadow of War, Guy’s Angel, Heart of the Ozarks, and Dustbowl Dreams, available now or coming soon.  She has numerous other writing credits in fiction, non-fiction, and other media.

            Lee Ann is a member of Romance Writers of America, Missouri Writers Guild, and the Ozark Writers League.  She earned a degree in both Communication Arts and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as a degree from Crowder College.  She spent a decade working in broadcast media and interviewed everyone from pro-league baseball players to country music icons and politicians.  In recent years she worked for the local school district. She is an active member of the local library board of directors and participates in a variety of community events and affairs.

            She now lives in a small Missouri town in what passes for the suburbs.  Her husband, Roy, and her three children share her life along with her adorable Jack Russell terrier, Jackson. 



Where can people connect with you online?

 
One Digital copy of Guy's Angel


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