Today’s Wednesday Writers’ guest is Ryan Jo Summers. Ryan will be talking about the book that wouldn’t let go of her–September’s Song. Welcome, Ryan Jo!
Years ago a friend emailed me a bunch of randomly connected photographs. One hit a chord with me, and I cannot explain why. It featured a young boy, dressed in winter clothing, handing a Styrofoam container out to a man huddled under a blanket. The photo gave the impression he was a homeless man, probably a veteran, and seemed apprehensive to take the boys offering. It was truly a case of that one photo being worth thousands of words. Who was the boy? Why was he offering food to a homeless man? Who was the man? Why was he uncertain about taking the gift? We will never know but it is great food for fodder.
I also love to do word find puzzles and had one themed all things Frank Sinatra. There was a song called “September Song” and I liked that title. It wasn’t long before I married a modified title to the photo of man and child and the offspring became “September’s Song”, and a problem child of mine for over three years.
I researched so many ways to write that book! So much was never used. I was well into writing it before I even knew what genre to call it. And I certainly never knew where it was going until I arrived there. I had the initial three characters when I began: the boy, his mom, and the homeless man. All the other important characters just came along when I needed them. This includes the very important Father Patrick, Doctor Greg, and Ivey’s Alzheimer’s-stricken mother and her terrible brother.
“September’s Song” was one of those stories that really wrote itself, over three years. The more I fought it trying it make it what I wanted it to be or tried to make it fit within what I thought were safe parameters, the more it fought me. The characters were insistent of who they wanted to be and do. They say writers have all the control. In most cases, we do, but in the case of “September’s Song”.
by Ryan Jo Summers
Ivey London was told her military husband died on a mission overseas. She buried him as a war hero and tried to move on with her life by raising their young son, dealing with her vengeful brother, and coping with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Five years go by and one day she learns of a secret underground chamber were special soldiers are imprisoned to recover. Further, one amnesiac soldier managed to escape. When her son begins to display unusual behaviors, she goes to investigate. All evidence points to finding her late husband. If it is him, back from the dead, Ivey refuses to give him up again.
Keegan London awoke in a hospital cell with no memories. Fleeing, he finds himself in a strange, unknown world, with no one to turn to. Until he finds a friendly Priest who runs a homeless shelter and he stumbles across the woman who claims to be his wife. While she can fill some gaps in his lost memories, she cannot explain his curious abilities. Pursued by someone determined to get him back, Keegan has few options but to trust the woman who makes his heart fire like a cannon. Ivey has dibs on him, but first they have to uncover who—and what–Keegan really is before they can recover what they had.
“No, that’s okay. I can do this by myself.” She spun around, blinking. Picking up the paring knife again, she began peeling. She gasped as his arms gently encircled her waist and his breath fanned her bare neck. His lips nuzzled her ear and she closed her eyes. His hand took the knife from her fingers and she leaned into his touch.
“Keegan,” his name came out in a throaty rumble as her eyes slid closed.
“I don’t know what we used to do, Ivey, but I can tell you miss it bad. I’m willing to try and be your husband again, if you’ll help me.”
Hot tears stung her eyes. She swallowed hard. “So many times you said I was unforgettable. I…I guess–.”
The comment died unfinished, and his fingers reached down and caressed her back. Electric jolts shivered along her spine.
“Don’t push me away, Ivey. Let me be in each part of your life.”
Her breath hitched. This should be easy. Just tell him how they used to cook, what his favorite foods were, what they shared, how they made wonderful love. And miraculously all his memories will reappear. Except it hadn’t worked yet.
From the distant reaches of her mind, Ivey heard the phone ringing. Before she could pull herself away from the counter, it stopped. Assuming Jory answered it, the whole episode passed from her mind. Right now, Keegan took all her focus.
His fingertips trailed lazily up and down her back, igniting tiny fires in their wake.
“Keegan….I….” Words failed her. Heart beating frantically like a wild bird locked in a cage, her mind surrendered.
He gently turned her around, cupping her chin and tilting her up. Drawing a husky breath, he lowered his lips to hers, winding his fingers in the tangle of her hair. Her arms moved to encircle his waist, slipping under his shirt to feel the raised scars and corded muscles. A guttural moan escaped her.
Finally, having lost all concept of time, she pulled apart. Noble, he would not go further with a woman he did not remember making love to. She might respect his intention and restraint, but the unmet need was also killing her. Pulling in a shaky breath, she ended the kiss, stepping away and picking up the paring knife again.
She ran her tongue over her lips, more to steady herself, and rested one hand on the counter for balance. “I can work on this if you want to go see what Jory and Mom are doing.”
Keegan stiffened, hesitated and studied her. For a chilling moment, she hoped he ignored her request and lifted her bodily to carry her away to the bedroom. Then a darkness entered his eyes, a sadness that cut into her chest.
“Yes. Of course.” Spinning, he exited, leaving her alone with the ghosts of what had been.
Damn, damn, damn.
About the Author:
Ryan Jo Summers writes romances that blur the lines of subgenres. She mixes contemporary with time travel, Christian, suspense, sweet, and paranormal like blending a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Her non-fiction works have appeared in numerous trade journals and magazines including ‘WNC Woman Magazine’, ‘Critter Magazine’, ‘Journey Devotions’, and ‘Vet Tech Journal’. She is a regular contributing author for the ‘Asheville Pet Gazette’.
Her hobbies include baking, crafts, gardening, enjoying nature, and chess/mah-jongg/word-find puzzles. She pet sits/dog walks when she’s not busy writing and she fosters homeless pets for area animal rescues.
She lives in a century-old cottage in North Carolina with her own menagerie of rescued pets and way too many houseplants. “September’s Song” is her second self-published work, the first one being the chronicles of the first two years with her adopted PTSD rescue collie.
Buy Links for “September’s Song”: (paperback and ebook)
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/septembers-song-ryan-jo-summers