Inspiration And Ideas Behind "A Patient Heart"

Some memories evoke the essence of our childhoods and condense the summer sunshine into something to savor.   During the bleak winter months I often find myself recalling moments from the past and when I do, I often think about the first boy I fell in love with at the age of nine.  Call me an early starter but at the tender age of nine I fell hard for the boy just a little older than me who lived next door to my aunt in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri.   His large family filled their home with noise and they had enough team members from their family alone to field an ongoing baseball game in the back yard.  Their mother baked snicker doodle cookies, the first I ever tasted, and I spent as much time as possible trailing after one of her sons.  I dreamed of growing up to marry him and although it never happened, I’m left with a few fond memories, enough for inspiration.

            When A Patient Heart debuted this week from Rebel Ink Press, some of those who knew me best during my childhood may recognize the inspiration behind my hero, Connor Donavan.  Now Joe isn’t Connor and I’m certainly not Catherine, my heroine but every idea must begin somewhere and the idea behind my Valentine’s Day contemporary romance started in my memories.

            The story itself has little to do with my own past.  The novel is set in our Neosho so it probably owes just as much to my present.  Rather than attempt to describe it, here’s the blurb:

            As a little girl, Catherine dreamed she'd marry Connor Donavan one day and as teenagers, that dream seemed within reach. Until Connor ended their relationshipby leaving town and breaking Catherine's heart. Ten years later, far from the old hometown, Catherine reports for work as a nurse one snowy January evening and learns that her new patient is none other than her old love, Connor. When he recognizes her, all the old feelings stir but a few sparks fly, too. As Connor recovers from an accident, Catherine realizes she loves him more than ever and he seems to love her as well. But after he leaves the hospital and convalesces at her home, his real life intrudes into their quiet time together. Then Connor leaves Catherine behind and she stays until a message sends her speeding to Kansas City, to Connor's club... On Valentine's Day.

            Like most of my novels, it will debut as an eBook.  Readers who prefer a paperback may be glad to know a third novel with my byline is now also available as a trade paperback.  My first time travel romance (first because another is coming Feb 17) A Time To Love is now also available in a paperback you can hold in your hands. 

            Every story begins somewhere.  Although they all evolve from my imagination, some begin here in Neosho, others spring from my memories of another time and place.

            But the common denominator is romance that lives and breathes the power of love.


“Hi,” he said
“Hello, how are things going?”
He shot her a scornful look. “It could be better.”
Catherine came around the bed to sit down. “Is something wrong?”
“No,” he said, his voice harsh and deep. “I’m just fine except for the leg, the cracked ribs, the concussion, scrapes and bruises. Not to mention I’m bored out of my mind, I missed my first chance at a vacation in about five years and I’ve got a business to run. It won’t do very well without me there.”
Without even thinking about it, she picked up his hand and held it. “Are you getting enough pain meds? I can up the dosage if you need it.”
Connor shook his head. “Pain’s not too bad right now and I can deal. It’s the rest of it I’m having trouble with.”
“Connor, I’m sorry. Let your club wait until you’re better,” Catherine told him. She racked her brain to think of something he might enjoy. “I can hunt down a magazine or a book if you want to read or give you my Kindle.”
He turned his hand around and gripped hers tight. “I have just enough of a headache I don’t feel like reading.”
He’s a tough nut to crack. Maybe, though, beneath his hard shell, he’s still worth knowing.

There were so many things she’d like to say, questions she longed to ask but Catherine chickened out and made small talk instead. “Tell me about your vacation you missed. Where were you going?”
“Eureka Springs, Arkansas,” he said after a pause. “Have you ever been there?”
“Sure, I have.” Catherine adored the Victorian village tucked away in some of the most rugged mountains in the Ozark region. Located just a few hours south in Arkansas, Eureka Springs drew visitors from around the world who adored the steep streets, the antique architecture, the ghosts and the unique flavor the place offered. “Have you?”
“No, it would have been my first time,” Connor said, “I had a room booked at some haunted hotel, the Crescent and everything. If it hadn’t snowed, I’d be there now.”
“Then I wouldn’t have ever got the chance to see you again,” Catherine said, the words out before she considered them.
A faint smile illuminated his face, softening his features. “Yeah, that’s true. Well, there’s one small good thing out of this mess. I bet I’ll have to pay for the damn hotel room even though I never set foot in it.”
“Maybe not once they know you were in an accident,” Catherine said. “I can try to call them if you want.”
His grin increased. “Would you? I’d appreciate that.”
“Sure. What kind of business do you own?” She pretended not to know anything about it.
For the first time, his smile warmed his eyes, giving his dark brown eyes a sparkle. “It’s a club, called ‘For My Sins’, in Kansas City, Kansas. There’s a full bar, tables and restaurant service, a stage and a small dance floor. I have a jukebox, a retro Rock-Ola but I book live bands Friday and Saturday nights. On weekends, I draw a fair enough crowd.”
“What kind of music?”
“Rock and roll,” he answered with enthusiasm. “A lot of it is vintage, Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, all the stuff I’ve always liked. Most of it puts today’s music to shame and I get all ages, from aging baby boomers to kids who need to be carded.”
“It sounds awesome,” Catherine said and meant it. If she had time, she’d love to spend a few hours in a place like that. It’d suit Connor, she thought, although she’d never thought of him running a club. She imagined it as just a little bit shabby but not trashy, dark and mysterious. “Do you have one of those silver balls hanging over the dance floor?”
“Oh, yeah,” Connor said. “I do.”
“Cool!” Catherine said, as a woman, not his nurse. “Do you sing?”
He laughed with a genuine burst of mirth rumbling like a distant night train. “I don’t where anyone can hear me. They told me as a little kid I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. I thought you’d remember. I’m no singer although I love music. Do you still sing? You used to be pretty good.”
“Sometimes,” Catherine admitted. She hadn’t sung much in years but he wouldn’t know.
“You could sing to me.” Something flared in his eyes to remind her of heat lightning. She liked the intensity and yet it scared her a little too. Talking about things she wouldn’t share with anyone else seemed intimate and if Annette wandered in, she’d have to explain but she didn’t know how she could.
“Maybe I could sometime but my break’s almost over.” It ended ten minutes earlier but she wasn’t counting and hoped Annette wasn’t either. “I need to change your catheter bag because it’s full and then I have other patients to check on, too. I should take your blood pressure reading also.”
“Do it first,” he said, his gaze steady on her face.
So she did, attached the cuff, pumped it up and listened with the stethoscope she kept around her neck while on duty. His reading came in just below normal, natural enough since he remained prone in bed and she charted it.
“So will I live?” Connor asked.

“You will, to at least a hundred,” she quipped.


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    Pablo from Argentina


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