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Saturday, August 31, 2013

From An Old House Down In The Valley To My New Historical Romance: Hear The Wind Blow, Love


From the desk of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy….

 

Although there’s a great distance, one measured in more than miles, from the town that cradled and nurtured me and the rugged old Ozark Mountains, I’ve come to love these hills and hollows.  I’ve lived here for a long time, now, and call the place home.  I now live in what passes for suburbs in a small town in a ranch style house and a neighborhood sandwiched between I-49 and the business loop that skirts town.  But not so very long ago I lived on the top of an Ozark ridge in the woods.  Our acres stretched across the hill top and veered down into a deep valley.  The property line ended at the bottom of a steep hill but when my husband and I went roaming through the forest, I spotted an old house tucked into the valley.
 

 

I’ve always been intrigued by abandoned houses.  To me, each one holds a story.  From an early age I imagined the life lived there, in the now empty rooms and the weed-choked yard.  So, of course I had to see the old farmhouse.  I took many pictures and over the years I lived in the rural area, I visited several times.

The farmhouse became the basis for the farm in my soon to be released (September 3) historical romance novel,  Hear The Wind Blow, Love.  Before it releases, here’s the cover (check out that handsome guy – he’s so hot), the blurb, and an excerpt which captures some of the feel of the old house in the wild Ozark woods.
 
 

Blurb:

When the Armistice ends the Great War in November 1918, the end comes too late to save Maude Whitney’s husband, Jamie.  But Maude realizes her heart still belongs to Harry, her brother-in-law who courted her first.  He’s been her rock in Jamie’s absence while they shared quarters with the grandparents who raised the brothers. But Granpa died and Granny moved to town so when Maude invites him to move back under the same roof, it’s sure to be a scandal in the rural Ozarks.


Before gossiping tongues can spread the news, the Spanish influenza wreaks havoc in the area.  It brings death close to home for Maude and Harry.  As they fall deeper in love and plan to wed, their troubles are just beginning.  Old feuds erupt and the day after Christmas, Harry’s hauled into custody and accused of a murder he didn’t commit.  Harry must prove his innocence and survive a serious bout of flu or there’s no happy ending for the star-crossed couple.

Excerpt:

Maude resisted an urge to lay her head against Harry’s shoulder, the way she had once.  Her mind ran faster than the hands on a clock as she pondered everything.  It might take awhile to wrap her head around all of it, but she didn’t see why Harry’s self-imposed exile to the cabin was necessary.  She thought about the deep woods surrounding the farmhouse, the old trees stretching high above the hills and hollows, and the distance to any neighbors.  The solitary nights and absolute blackness after dark, the critters who roamed the rugged hills, and the lonesome winds sweeping over the wilderness reminded her how isolated and alone she lived.

“No one knows where you sleep,” she said after a pause. “And even though you go to the cabin every night, wagging tongues can say otherwise and who would know?”

“I reckon no one, much,” Harry said.  “What’re you sayin’?”

A smile teased her lips until she let it out, full and broad. “I’m sayin’ you might as well come home, Harry, here to the house.  God knows, it’s lonely with just me and George. He’d like you being here and truth told so would I.”

He said nothing and from his stark profile she thought he’d refuse.  To coax him, Maude added, “You’d take meals with us and with winter comin’ on, it’d make things easier for you and for me.”

Emotion cracked his voice when he answered. “I’ll stay tonight and move back, then, Maudie. I can’t help but admit it’s good for a man’s soul to have some company and some warm food to feed my belly.  Thanks.”

“There’s no need to thank me,” she said. “It’s your home as much as mine.”

Harry smiled a sweet grin.  The expression removed at least five years from his age. “Can’t argue that,” he said. “I’ve lived here since I was five years old, except for the time up in Kansas City.  And, Maude?”

“Yes?”

“I’ll do right by you,” he said, his voice earnest with feeling. “I won’t take advantage.”

She might like it if he did, but Maude understood.  He respected her. “I know,” she replied softly. “I’m glad you’re home, Harry.”

Unseen, unspoken, a powerful emotion surged between them and resonated, almost strong enough to touch.  All the affection Maude held for Harry welled up and she struggled to contain it.  They’d lived in one household for a long time and managed.  Whatever happened now, she wouldn’t force.  He released her hand but his fingers paused to stroke her cheek in a brief caress.  “Looks like the fire needs feeding,” he said.  He rose and stirred the embers, then added another log.  The flames danced and their light illuminated Harry as he knelt before the hearth.

I love him, in every way a woman loves a man.  She’d never stopped and all she felt surpassed anything she’d felt for Jamie.  Maude mourned his passing, but she knew now how much more she’d grieve if it’d been Harry, not his brother who died in France.  Some of the strain of recent weeks lifted and a little bubble of happiness expanded within.  Harry’s presence tempered the bone numbing loneliness and offered comfort.

Anything else would be welcome and if it came, she’d know joy, deep and abiding.

 

MY LINKS

Twitter: leeannwriter

From Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

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