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Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's Elvis Week In Memphis - Long Live The King


From The Desk of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy…….

It’s here – Elvis Week 2012, an annual event over in Memphis, Tennessee celebrating the one, the only Elvis Presley.  Each August, thousands of Elvis fans head for the city The King called home in his later life and events are held for just about everyone.  Although I’ve made the pilgrimage to Graceland like any red-blooded Southern gal, I haven’t been during Elvis Week.  I’m not much into major crowds so although I’m sure I’ll visit Memphis again – it ranks high on my list of favorite cities with a unique personality – it won’t be in August or during this special week.

For those who’d like to jump into all the fun and fray, here’s a link to the schedule of events:


Don’t let my absence or lack of attendance fool anyone – I am an Elvis fan.  And some may even know I wrote a novella called Long Live The King which appeared from Champagne Books last May. It’s a romance but it’s also kind of an alternate reality, fantasy type tale because in my story, Elvis gets a very different and much happier future.  Here’s the cover, the blurb, and an excerpt from the way I wish life might’ve gone for The King:



Long Live The King
May 7, 2012
Champagne Books
$1.99

Lacie Logan is just another Delta raised beauty until her attempts at a movie
career fail and leave her working as a professional escort in Las Vegas. She
doesn't like it, but what's a girl to do? Then, during an unexpected
thunderstorm, she walks into a coffee shop and is suddenly back in April 1956.
When she meets Elvis Presley, she's sure she must be dreaming but when their
chance encounter becomes a full-blown romance, she realizes that she has the
chance to both win the King of Rock and Roll's heart and change history.

Excerpt:
Back at her room, she began preparing for the show and last of all, she donned
the dress. The navy blue organdy fit her like a glove, sleeveless with a petal
neckline and a full skirt made stiff with the crinoline slip the sales clerk
insisted she must have. She sprayed the Tabu perfume she'd bought and donned the
shawl from the previous night, now dry, before taking her ticket and going down
to the show.


Entering the Venus Room felt surreal, like a vintage movie. Dozens of small
tables dotted the floor, facing the stage. Pink toned curtains covered the walls
and the sounds of conversation wafted toward her in waves. Thankful for the
dress that made her the equal of anyone in the crowd, Lacie slipped through the
tables to a small one on the far right side of the room. When a waiter appeared,
she ordered a Coke, wanting to keep her head clear so she could enjoy Elvis as
he performed. Cigarette smoke hung in the air above the tables and when Elvis
stepped on stage, few people stopped talking until he began to sing.
Lacie had listened to his voice all her life, first on scratchy old LPs, later
on CDs with no hiss or pop. She watched videos of him from his early years to
the last painful ones, but she had never seen him perform live. None of the
multiple biographies she read prepared her for the impact of Elvis live on
stage. Elvis, live, came across as awesome in the extreme and she loved it. As
expected, he shook his legs, twitched as if electricity made him dance, and
moved in his unique manner.


Even if he hadn't ignited a flame inside her with his kiss, she would've found
him sensual and sexy. In his stage persona, she glimpsed the kind, amusing, and
sometimes-quiet young man she was fast getting to know but on stage, he came
across larger than life, enhanced in a way she could not begin to explain or
define. Elvis on stage impacted her hard, hit her as deeply as his kiss in a
different way.


As Lacie watched, he gave himself to the crowd, gave with everything he had,
body and soul. Some ethereal magic shimmered between him and the audience
although, as he had told her, much of the crowd had no more than a lackluster
response. Lacie failed to understand because he fired and inspired her on every
level.


The last song was his Heartbreak Hotel, always a plaintive, soulful song but it
was more poignant and sad now, sung just a few feet away. If she remembered
right, he had not yet released a record of the song but when it was out, it
would soar up the charts and be his biggest hit yet.


Although most of the time he kept his concentration fully on the song, Elvis
glanced at her several times, with the famous curl of his upper lip and a smile
teasing the edges of his mouth. That melted her heart all the more.
At the end, he pulled her up on the small stage and in front of the Vegas
audience, his band, and Colonel Parker, Elvis kissed her again. Although this
kiss lasted just seconds, she felt the same wild pull, the desperate need, and
the desire for more. Self-conscious of the lighting, the people, and Elvis's
entourage, Lacie blushed as the crowd, unmoved by the songs, went wild clapping
at that kiss.


"Thank you, thank you very much," he told the audience in his deep voice, both
humility, and gratitude genuine. Then Elvis took her by the hand and led her
from the stage while Colonel Parker glowered at them both. His band members
grinned as Elvis called back over his shoulder, "I'll see y'all tomorrow."
Outside, as a warm desert breeze ruffled through her hair and touched her bare
shoulders, Elvis sighed. "Baby, I'm glad it's over. It's hard working a crowd
like that one."


"You were awesome, though," Lacie said. She meant it, too. "On stage, you have
so much energy and power flowing out of you. I don't even know how to describe
it."


Elvis went still as a rabbit poised just before taking flight before he spoke,
"But you like it."


His voice dropped down so quiet she struggled to hear as she replied,
"I loved it."


Elvis lifted his head and his grin was back, incandescent as the neon lights of
Vegas. "Good. You give me confidence, girl. I'm hungry--let's go eat."
He took her out for steak and eggs at the little coffee shop where they met.
Over eggs done just as good as her mama could make them and steak so tender she
really could cut it with her fork, she talked to Elvis. This Elvis wasn't the
icon she grew up with or the popular image but a real man, one with dreams and
desires and worries like anyone else. They talked until dawn broke over Vegas,
dimming the neon with the sun's natural splendor, and separated so they could
sleep.


"I'd stay up anyhow," Elvis said, yawning as he walked her down the corridor to
her room. "But the Colonel's going to give me noise about it now. Go buy a
swimsuit and come down to the pool this afternoon. I will be there with Scotty,
DJ, and Bill--you can meet them. Okay, baby?"


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