Romance author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Romance author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Forget loving just a mortal - go for a god: Jove's Passion, book one in the Love Immortal Series!!


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.”




Friday, May 02, 2014

Coming This Week - Pink Neon Dreams, new from Evernight Publishing!!


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 06, 2014

Devlin's Grace...one man's battle with PTSD and the woman who loves him.....


            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:

MY LINKS

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Twitter: leeannwriter


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


 

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