Tuesday, November 14, 2023

A Writing Journey

As the holiday season gets closer, aren't we all looking for books to either give as gifts or to enjoy ourselves during any free relaxation time we might get? Today's guest in My Writing Corner brings us a tale that sounds like it would be great for escaping the upcoming holiday bustle and reading for a while. My guest today is Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy, and her newest book has just been released.

Lee Ann's journey to being an author began when she was young. She says that from an early age she began scribbling stories inspired by the books she read, the family tales she heard, and even the conversations she overheard at the beauty shop where her grandmother had a weekly standing appointment. She says she was the little girl who sat at the feet of the elders and listened.

As an author, she has published more than sixty novels and novellas written as both Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy and as Patrice Wayne for historical fiction. She is also the author of a new Faery Folk series from Evernight Publishing writing as Liath├ín O'Murchadha. Her books are found in many places, online and in brick-and-mortar stores including some in both Ireland and Australia.  Her current publishers include The Wild Rose Press, World Castle Publishing, Evernight Publishing, and Champagne Books.

She spent her early career in broadcast radio, interviewing everyone from politicians to major league baseball players and writing ad copy.  In those radio years she began to write short stories and articles, some of which found publication. In 1994 she married Roy Murphy and they had three children, all now grown-up. Lee Ann spent years in the newspaper field as both a journalist and editor and was widowed in 2019. 

She teaches 7th and 8th graders each Sunday at church. In late 2020, she hung up her editor’s hat to return to writing fiction. A native of St. Joseph, Missouri, she lives and works in the rugged, mysterious, and beautiful Missouri Ozarks.  Let's find out more about Lee Ann.

What do you enjoy about being an author?

I’ve always been an avid reader so for me, writing fiction is the ultimate experience because as the author I’m in the driver’s seat. I take the story wherever it goes. It’s like reading intensified. I also love sharing my stories with others and I’m stoked when readers like my work.

Tell us about your road to publication.

My ambition was to become a writer from the time I was nine. Over the years I scribbled and wrote. In college, some of my work appeared in campus literary magazines, then after I went to work as an advertising copywriter in broadcast radio, I began writing, submitting, and seeing some acceptances of my fiction.  Fast forward to when I got married (1994) and after having twin daughters in 1996, I realized if I didn’t make a real effort to write a novel, my biggest dream, then I might never do it. I would be an old woman with regrets so at the craziest time ever, with twin toddlers, I sat down and started writing novels. After 80 rejections, the first one was accepted. I worried I might be a “one hit wonder” but my husband’s uncle assured me that wouldn’t be the case and it wasn’t.

What is your latest book and how did you come up with the idea to write it?

My newest title is The Scarred Santa (The Wild Rose Press) and it was released on November 13, 2023.  For my plots, I usually have a rough idea - usually with a “What if?” question or a “why”....for The Scarred Santa, it began with what if a guy who used to be super handsome was scarred with PTSD after military service? I imagined him going through job after job and brainstormed about what job would work for a scarred man….Santa at the mall cause no one sees his face. From there, the plot developed…he’s lonely, wants love, etc.

Let's get a blurb and excerpt:

Once handsome Rafe Sullivan is left scarred, injured, and with PTSD from his Marine Corps service in Afghanistan, returning to civilian life is far from smooth, and the burn scars on his right side are extensive. Although he lives close to family, he lives a solitary life and changes jobs more often than most people change their socks. A temporary job as Santa at the mall is presented, but Rafe first rebels, then relents. His Santa gig affects his PTSD. Then he meets Sheena Dunmore. When she doesn't run from his scars or issues, she intrigues him. An unmasking by some rowdy children is a test of his stamina and spirit. His greatest fear is fire. Will Rafe conquer the fear so he can move forward into the new life he desires?

How about an excerpt:

“Rafe?” Mike spoke out of the darkness in the back yard.
    He halted. “Yeah, it’s me.”
    His brother approached, face tight. “Are you okay? I’ve been worried sick ever since I heard
you had to leave work early.”
    He should have phoned but never thought about it. The last thing Rafe wanted was to worry
his family. “I’m all right. How did you know I wasn't there?”
    Mike sighed. “I went to the mall, trying to find a present for Charlotte, a pearl necklace I
saw in one of the sale ads. I went by the Santa Claus scene so I could say hi, and it was closed. I
figured you were on break until I saw Steve Kristoff, and he told me you had to leave early. Are
you sick or something?”
    “No, I’m not.” A month ago, even a week ago, Mike’s brotherly concern might have made
Rafe mad. At least it would have irritated him. Now, he accepted it for what it was and why—
his brother and his family cared. “Mike, I got a little freaked out. Too many crowds and people, a
lot of sights and sounds, and it got to me. Sheena is the one who asked Steve if I could leave early.”
    “Are you okay? I was about to go hunting for you, and so was Gabe.”
    Unshed tears burned in his eyes. Rafe was grateful for their love. “Yeah, I’m good. I’ve been
with Sheena.”
    Mike exhaled a long, slow breath. He put a shaky hand on Rafe's shoulder. “Thank God. I
wish you’d called, though. We were afraid… oh, never mind. You’re home safe. It’s what
    A knot in his stomach formed. “What were you so scared I might be doing?” In the dark,
Rafe couldn’t see his brother’s face, but he picked up on the tension in Mike's voice.
    “Gabe and I worried you might have a bad meltdown somewhere, alone, and we didn’t want
to think about the possibility. Or wonder if you might be so upset that you would do something.”
    “Like what?” Rafe’s emotions threatened to erupt. “Shoot up the mall or take a hostage or
    Mike moved closer and put his hand on Rafe’s shoulder. “No, nothing as extreme or
violent— but we were worried you might take your life.”
    The words dropped between them like a stone in a well. Rafe shut his eyes as emotional pain
washed over him, powerful enough to make his stomach hurt. “I’m sorry you thought it might be
possible. I’ve never actually considered it…well, I take it back. Maybe once or twice…I know
it’s a huge problem. A lot of vets who served in the Gulf, especially those with PTSD and
massive injuries, have committed suicide. But not me, okay?”

What’s your next project?

I like to multi-task. My next submission to The Wild Rose Press is called The Cajun Cowboy. I am currently working with my very thorough and dedicated editor on The Cowboy’s Last Chance although no release date yet.  I am also working on a family saga series. The first two books in it have been contracted by World Castle Publishing.  I have a long story, The Ice Man Melts, in an upcoming anthology (Tell Me No Lies) from Evernight Publishing and a romantic suspense titled Huck’s Legacy, also from Evernight.

Here are Lee Ann's buy links for Scarred Santa and her social media contacts to learn more about her and her other books.

Buy Links

Amazon: Scarred Santa

Barnes and Noble:  Scarred Santa

Social Media Contacts:


Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: Rambling and Writing (blog)



 Personal page

https://www.facebook.com/leeannwriter/ Author page



Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboar

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leeannsontheimer/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/leeannwriter/

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/lee-ann-sontheimer-murphy-a753a422/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/leeannwriter

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa11tpg_gGG80lh6uR-dNUw


Audible: https://www.audible.com/author/Lee-Ann-Sontheimer-Murphy/B004JPBM6




Amazon author page:


World Castle author page:


Evernight author page:


Thank you, Lee Ann, for being my guest today. Any questions for Lee Ann?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting me! I appreciate your help!


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