Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Flowers And Books That Bloom

It's April. Spring is attempting to burst out here in my corner of southwest Missouri but about the time it warms up, we're slammed with cooler temps and rain.  We've had too many gray days but I do think (fingers crossed) that the possibility of snow is gone for this season.  I'm almost afraid to guess, though, because the weather has been unpredictable and contrary.  Climate change is indeed real.  I don't like it but I have to live with it.

On the reading front, I'm reading my way through Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series of books.  I'm into the second, Dragon Fly In Amber, now and have plenty of reading ahead.  On occasion, I switch gears and read a contemporary novel to keep my interest fresh but like many others, I can't overdose on Jamie Fraser, in print or on the screen.  Although there are a few differences in the series, I like it, very much.

In writing, as in mine, I'm hoping to finish up a few WIPS (works in progress) by June and send the out into the world to share.

My next event is slated for May 5, a Friday.  I will be part of a baker's dozen of authors who will participate in the first ever Crowder College Author Symposium.  I'm putting together my details now and am looking forward to it very much.  Several of the authors are friends, one since our college years at Crowder, so it will be a very special day.  I also will be reading, along with several of the other authors, from my work. 

As local folks and fans probably know, I've also been writing some articles for the local newspaper which transitions from a five day a week print run to two days a week during April.  On Friday April 21st, the first weekend edition will roll off the presses.  No more Sunday paper which is a downer for me.  I've grown up drinking coffee from an early age while I peruse the morning paper on Sundays. The other print day will be Tuesdays.  Like everyone else, we'll just have to see how it pans out.

One of my most popular articles thus far has been about a house and the long deceased owner, Howard Speakman.  His story is intriguing and you can read the article here:

http://www.neoshodailynews.com/news/20170314/laegacy-of-howard-speakman

Please note the error in the headline isn't mine but the editor's. 

Howard Speakman intrigued me enough I write a time travel fantasy romance in which he didn't die in 1905 but lived, thanks to the efforts of a young woman who found herself in love with a ghost.

A Timely Concerto is available for Kindle and can be found here:
https://www.amazon.com/Timely-Concerto-Lee-Sontheimer-Murphy-ebook/dp/B00IHHRDDA

Here's a little taste to whet the reading appetite!


“What are you doing in my house?”

The words came out shrill but it was anger, not fear that raised the level of her voice.   She had not yet seen his face but he heard her because he stopped playing and silence rose like swift floodwaters in the room.

Before he turned, she realized that something was very odd about her uninvited guest. His clothing was outdated; a heavy wool suit, dark brown, with high waisted trousers beneath a coat cut in an old-fashioned style. I do believe that is what they call a sack suit, Lillian thought, but where did he get it and why is he dressed up like 1900?

“Forgive me, dear lady.” His voice was strong, deep, with a hint of sweetness, and brown like aged root beer. “Let me introduce myself since there is no one here to make proper introductions. I am Howard Speakman and this is my house. I built it.”

Being speechless was a rare experience for Lillian but for the third time in her life, she stared and could not find anything to say. As she grasped to find the right words, she studied him.  His light brown hair was short, parted in the middle in a way she had not seen since Buster Brown and for a long moment, she thought that she had come face to face with her mother’s ghost. Reality kicked in, however, and she laughed.

“Is this a joke? It isn’t funny at all. Did you think you could scare me in that moth eaten old suit from an antique store?”

“I assure you, it’s no joke. I am Howard Speakman and this is my house. I planned it, I had it built, and I lived it until I died. That was in March, 1905.”

1905 was the year the letters stopped, Lillian realized and the name he gave was the one written in the books upstairs. As a non-believer, her notion of what a ghost might look like was vague but she rationalized that a decent ghost would be transparent if not all white or maybe glowing.  Howard – if that was his name – was none of those things; he looked as solid as she was, his skin tones had color, and she would swear she could smell his cologne or soap. His eyes were the rich blue of a Willow Ware platter and he looked back at her with what seemed to be intelligence and life. Besides, if he was flesh and not spirit, he was attractive in a rugged, Western hero sort of way. Too many thoughts whirled through her brain like a sudden windstorm and she sat down on a brocade-covered chair.

“You can’t be a ghost.” Her voice sounded weak and squeaky. “I don’t believe in ghosts.”

“I assure you that I am indeed a ghost.” His lips curled into a wry grin as he spoke as if even he found the idea ludicrous. “Or, if not a ghost per se, then at least I’m quite dead.”

“That’s nonsense.”

Howard shook his head.” I wish it was and that I could just walk out through the door. I can’t do that and as much as I love Seven Oaks, more than a hundred years wandering through the rooms and frightening the occasional child ceased to be fun some time ago. I was a farmer and I miss the outdoors. I would almost sell my soul to feel sunshine beating down on my back or to work the dirt with my hands again.”

He made the impossible seem within reach with his calm words and steady gaze. His diction and the words he used were as out of date as his suit. If he was an actor, then he was skilled at his craft but somehow, no matter how unlikely it was, he came across as genuine.

“I don’t understand how that could be possible,” Lillian said, choking on the words that opened her mental door a crack to paranormal possibilities. “Look, I don’t know what to say or think but I’m Lillian Dorsey, Charles David’s granddaughter. He left me Seven Oaks.”

 

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