Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Tour: "In Love's Own Time" by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Title:  In Love's Own Time
Author:  Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Publisher:  Rebel Ink Press
Length:  71,000 Words
Sub-Genres:  Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Time-Travel



There may be no place like home and nothing like love…..when history teacher Lillian Dorsey inherits a three story Edwardian brick mansion from the grandfather who banished her pregnant mother decades before, it’s a no brainer.  She’ll visit the place, see it and sell it.  Instead Lillian’s captivated by the beautiful home and intrigued by the ghost of the original owner, Howard Speakman.  Soon she’s flirting with the charming, witty gentleman who’s been dead for more than a century and before long, they admit it’s a mutual attraction.  Still, when she’s alive and he’s dead, any shot at being together seems impossible.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way….one afternoon while pretending to visit the past the impossible becomes a brief reality.  If they visited 1904 before, Lillian knows they can do it again and if so, she can prevent Howard’s untimely death.  With a combination of love, powerful hope, and stubborn will, Lillian bends time to her will and returns to the summer of 1904.  But Howard’s death looms ahead and if she’s to find a happy ending, she must save him from his original death.


Here’s a little taste from the day they inadvertently return to 1904 and realize just what may be possible:
“Lillian.” Howard sounded hoarse, his voice cracking with emotion although she wasn’t sure which one, fear, elation, or sorrow.  “This is 1904.”
“How could it be?” Even as she protested, she knew it was true.  The old house was new.  The smell of fresh paint mingled with the Dutch cake aroma and as she’d noticed earlier, the book covers were bright.  Howard’s sheet music pages never yellowed but sparkled unblemished white.  It was true and if it was 1904, then Howard was alive.  He wasn’t a ghost.  
Lillian reached for him, stretched out her hand to touch him, and closed her fingers over his arm.  Through the wool of his sleeve, his skin was warm, so alive, and tears formed in her eyes.  Her right hand stroked the curve of his cheek and she clasped his hand with the other.   He twined his fingers through hers, tight as if he might never let go, and pulled her right hand to his lips, brushing her skin with a faint, soft kiss.
“Oh, Howard.”  Her voice broke.  “Howard, you’re real.”
She could touch him now and she could smell him, a rich masculine aroma of soap and leather, and the outdoors.  Before, he’d been a ghost, not tangible, not touchable but for now, he was both and she reveled in him with every sense.  She touched his hair with trembling fingers and rubbed her cheek against his suit jacket.  When she lifted her face, his eyes blazed with emotion and she knew before he bent down they’d kiss.
In her dream, the kiss’d been sweet but in reality, it was sweeter.  His lips heated hers, melted, and moved against her mouth until she couldn’t breathe.  She put her arms around his neck and he held her, one hand flat against her back.   Until now, he’d been unattainable, almost fantasy, but now he was a man, a man who held her in his arms, and she wanted him.  Desire burned like a wavering candle flame but without warning, Howard released her.
“Lillian, I forgot myself.  You must forgive me.”
Her lips, bruised from his mouth, stretched into a smile. “I’ll never forgive you if you don’t kiss me again, Howard.”
“I shouldn’t.” His voice sounded muffled. “But I’ll, sweet Lillian, though I shouldn’t.  However, for the moment I’m alive. Carpe diem!”

“Damn!” The aggravation would kill her if the suspense didn’t.  Love relationships were hard enough with a flesh and blood partner but Howard’s disappearing act was beyond difficult.   There must be some way, she thought, to cross the boundaries of time so she and Howard could be together and Lillian resolved to figure out how.
Although she would rather bawl with frustration, she took action.  The local library was the only place which might have the materials she sought so she Googled Einstein’s theories on one of the public computers.  What she read led to her read about Goedal, the other Princeton scientist she mentioned to Howard and to others, everyone from Stephen Hawking to Igor D. Novikov.  A search of simply “time travel” linked to Washington Irving’s legend of Rip Van Winkle, King Arthur’s daughter Gwenth, to Carroll’s Alice, and even to Sleeping Beauty.  The mish-mash of information was confusing but as she sorted through it, reading and considering it all, a sense of excitement crept over her.  Repeatedly from very diverse sources, she read time travel might be possible, not from crackpots or harebrained pseudo scientists but from people at the top of their field.
No one explained how it worked but most acknowledged the possibility.   As she surfed the World Wide Web, she jotted down books to read and movies to watch.  Dean Koontz wrote a novel about time travel called Lightning and a woman named Diana Gabaldon penned an entire series of novels based on time travel.  Movies like Kate and Leopold and Somewhere in Time, the last based on a novel by Richard Matheson, intrigued her.
Lost in research, Lillian didn’t realize how long she’d been there until the librarian tapped her shoulder.
“I’m sorry but we close in fifteen minutes.”
Head aching with fatigue, mind whirling with information, she gathered up her copious notes and walked out to the parking lot.  Her car was alone beneath the vapor lights and although she was weary, Lillian was too restless to go home.  Instead, she drove across town and up the business highway to where Howard’s farm once existed.
The neat orchards she hoped to find were gone and instead a housing subdivision sprawled over the fertile ground, the foundation of Howard’s fortune.  Most of the ranch style homes dated to the late 1950’s or early 1960’s but on the far edges, newer homes ringed the original neighborhood.  The railroad track she recalled from her dream and the hills with a few gnarled old apple and peach trees were all remaining of the former fruit farm.  The idea brought sadness and Lillian knew Howard’d feel the same. As her headlights swept through the subdivision, she searched for any other signs of Speakman’s Farm but found none so she retreated to Seven Oaks.
In the humid summer night, her fatigue felt like a heavy blanket and Lillian was almost too tired to drag herself up the stairs.  As she wandered through the dark downstairs rooms, she called his name but Howard didn’t answer.  Missing him was an ache and so weary, emotions drained, she lay down across the bed, too tired to even undress and fell asleep.
Shadows of the tree branches made lacy silhouettes across the ceiling of the bedroom when she woke, moving shadows dancing with the wind.  Although she’d no clue what time of day it might be, Lillian felt too somnolent to rise so she lay, tangled in the bedspread and tried to sort her myriad emotions.  Joy at Howard’s declaration of love dimmed when she considered the difficulties of their unique relationship and a strange prickling delight came as she remembered visiting 1904.  As the wind rushed through the trees like whispers, she struggled to make sense of time travel, to figure out a way to make it possible on a permanent basis.
Details, theories, and thoughts warred until she sat up, limbs protesting the motion after too many hours of deep sleep, with a revelation.   They didn’t need the books, she wouldn’t have to know the properties of relativity after all, and there was no set format certain to succeed. It didn’t matter because she’d done it.  If they managed once to travel to the past without trying, they could and would by design.
“Elementary, my dear Watson,” Lillian murmured, stretching as she swung her legs to the floor.  “It’s simple, really.”
With one ear cocked for any sound to indicate Howard’s return, Lillian bathed and dressed, brushing her teeth to rid her mouth of an unpleasant film coating both teeth and gums.  She picked up her watch from the dresser and nodded.   It was just now noon; she’d not slept away as much of the day as she’d guessed, a good thing since she needed to handle many details.  Singing, she floated with elation downstairs to make coffee and a list.   Time travel was possible and she’d do it or die.  Either way, she’d end up Howard.
By the time, he appeared, dapper in a blue and white checked Madras shirt worn over dark brown trousers held up with suspenders striped the same colors as the shirt, she’d scribbled half a notebook full of things to do or buy or look up.  Intent on the next item, she didn’t realize he was with her until she felt his spirit caress, light as a breath, across the back of her neck.
“What are you plotting, my dear heart?” He asked, sitting down across the kitchen table.
“We can do it, Howard.” She put down her pen to reach out for his hand and then remembered she couldn’t hold it. “Time travel, I mean.  All we have to do is believe it and live it.  If we could do it when we were just pretending, we can do it.  Everything has to be just right and I’ve so many things to get and things to do but we can.  Isn’t it wonderful?”

Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author.  A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region.  Her romance novels include Wolfe’s Lady (December 2010 Evernight Publishing), Love Tattoo, (March 2011, Evernight), Love Scars (June 2011, Evernight), Love Never Fails (May 2011, Rebel Ink Press), Kinfolk (July 2011, Champagne Books), The Marriage Cure (Astraea Press, July 2011), Love Scars, July 2011 (Evernight Publishing). Love Tattoo, Love Scars, and Love Knots, Love Shadows are the first four books of the six book Love Covenant series. Other novels include Witness Protection Program (Rebel Ink Press, A Time To Love (Champagne Books. Sing We Now of Christmas (Rebel Ink Press, December 2011).  2012  is already kicking off with more novel releases including A Patient Heart, Miss Good Samaritan, Guy’s Angel, In Love’s Own Time, Heart of the Ozarks)  In The Shadow of War, and a novella, Long Live The King (Champagne Books).  Her work also appears in more than twenty anthologies and she has multiple short story/non-fiction credits.
She is a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, EPIC, and the Ozarks Writers League.
Her work also appears in multiple anthologies. She earned a BA degree in both English and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as an AA Degree in Journalism from Crowder College.  She worked in broadcast media for a decade and also has a background in education.  Her weekly column “Hindsight” appears each week in the Neosho Daily News.
She is married to Roy W. Murphy and the couple has three children, Emily, Megan, and Patrick Murphy.
If Lee Ann – or Lee as many of her writing friends know her – isn’t writing, she’s reading or spending time outdoors.
In Neosho, Missouri, the small town she now calls home, she serves on the local library board, is active in the annual Relay For Life fight against cancer, has worked with the local Arts Council, and is active in her parish.

 I know you get asked this question over and over but can you tell us a little about yourself? Maybe something juicy. ;)

Hmm...I’m a tail end Baby Boomer (yes, I’m that old) raised like a 1930’s kid by my grandparents in my formative years, was introduced to hippie culture and Janis Joplin by my would-be hippie mother, a child of the late 70’s who still loves classic rock and roll, vintage cars, good whiskey and better vodka.  I won’t turn up my nose at Moscato wine.   I’m married, three kids, live in a small town, do community service stuff like serve on the library board, and I adore men friends.

When did you first start writing? Are you a full time author or do you do it on the side?

I started writing as soon as I could wrap my hands around a pencil! And I am fortunate enough to now be a full-time author (and believe me, it is FULL time, about 18 hours a day)

Do you have a author that has really inspired you?

There are so many it would be difficult to name just one.

How long does it normally take you to write an average book or your last book?

Writing a novel for me takes anywhere from two to six months, depending on the length and the amount of research involved.  I write faster now that I am a full-time author.

What do you think makes a story great?
A great story grabs the reader by the hand, hangs on tight, and engages emotion.

Can you describe your book "In Love’s Own Time" in one sentence?

It’s a contemporary, historical time travel novel where the heroine falls in love with a ghost.

Tell us a littke about your new series book.

My one series is the Love Covenant series with Evernight Publishing.  Book four, “Love Shadows” recently debuted in the ongoing saga of my two hundred plus year old vampire Will Brennan and beloved Texas gal singer, Cara.

Have you done lots of research for your book or did the story just come to you?

I did the initial research for “In Love’s Own Time” to find out the history of the subdivision where my home is located.  When I moved here five years ago I researched and learned the entire subdivision was part of a fruit farm with orchards, strawberry fields, and more around 1900.  It also was tied to my favourite historical home in the community.  My imagination started spinning and the story just emerged from there.

The portions of the book in 1904 and 1905 did require some research to make sure what my characters wore, ate, said, and did were accurate.

What are you currently working on?

My current WIP is set in 1933 Oklahoma and involves a desperate farmer who turns to pulling a few bank robberies to support his family (widowed mother and four younger siblings) and his fiancée, a local school teacher.

Can you tell us about some of your prior achievements?

When I wrote radio ad copy, some of my ads won awards.  “In Love’s Own Time” is my twelfth novel and I have four more coming out the first half of 2012 with Rebel Ink Press.

Is there anything that I didn't cover that you would like to talk about or say to your
potential readers?

I’m a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, Ozark Writers League, and EPIC.

Just for fun:
Hardback or Paperback?  I like things hard.
Dog ears or Bookmarks?  Bookmarks
YA novels or Adult novels?  Adult
Library or Bookstore?  I’m on the local library board so I should say library
Reading glasses or No glasses?  No glasses
Snack while reading or No snacks?  No snack unless it’s chocolate
Beach or Mountain?  Mountain
Vampire or Werewolf?  Vampire
Hot or Flirty? Flirty
Movie 1st or Book 1st? Always book first
Contemporary or Historical?  Historical
Page-Turner or Tear Jerker? Tear jerker


Patricia Eimer said...

A woman and a ghost? That sounds like a pairing I could get behind. It's also nice to see a book by another Missouri gal. I'll definitely have to give this a go.

Paige Cuccaro said...

OMG, this is so weird! I just visited a blog promoting a book that's story revolved around ghosts and mentioned how I'm finding I really like books about ghosts (not necessarily ghost stories. :-) ) This book sounds awesome! Great interview. Enjoyed the excerpt. Really looking forward to reading it!!

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