Guest Blog: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Happy Monday!  We’re back with new blood this morning.  Please welcome Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy as she tells us a bit about Christmas memories and her upcoming holiday story, Sing We Now of Christmas.


When I reminisce about Christmas, there are certain sights, sounds, and smells evoked by memory. Although these days I put up an artificial no fuss tree, we always had a fresh cut evergreen in my childhood. The earliest Christmas trees I recall were Douglas Fir and later Scotch Pines but both offered up aromatic delights even if they dried out and dropped needles everywhere. When I walk past the Christmas trees for sale at the local market, I always pause to inhale the sweet scent. At home I often put a pine scented candle on my candle warmer to bring the familiar and coveted smell into the house.

Wreaths, poinsettias, a sprig of mistletoe, real holly complete with berries, and Santa’s face are other holiday icons which appear each year. Candles to represent hope are another must have item for my celebration. I adore the smell of even a plain wax candle, bringing to mind other festive occasions and the clean, bright flare of a flame burning in the night. The old idea of a candle in the window to light the way for a weary traveler or welcome someone home resonates with sentimental appeal. That’s why one of my first choices for the title of my new
Christmas release from Rebel Ink Press was “A Candle In The Window” but I always check out my potential titles.

When I did, I learned apparently a lot of other people feel the same warm and fuzzy feelings about the tradition so I went back to the drawing board and came up with a title borrowed from one of my favorite Christmas songs, Sing We Now of Christmas. The song is a 15th century carol and although I adore any version my top favorite is the instrumental version found on a CD I own with Highland Christmas music. The poignant music seemed perfect as inspiration for my Christmas novel.

I’d like to share the blurb:

When Jessica Martin met Johnny Devereaux that December, holiday magic filled the air but their love was no enchantment….he was, without doubt the love of her life and by summer, they were happy newlyweds with all their life and holidays ahead.
But when he failed to return home from a fishing trip on the Fourth of July, Jessica’s world is rocked to the foundation and when the authorities tell her that her husband is missing, presumed dead, she refuses to believe it.

As the months and seasons pass, no one else holds out hope but Jessica believes.
She knows he’ll be home for Christmas no matter what. Her family calls her crazy, Johnny’s family tries to help her find closure but Jessica’s heart refuses to surrender hope. When Christmas comes, the truth will come out to shock them all.

And here’s a little excerpt from the night my heroine Jessica met her Johnny…

She got up to leave, unhappy because her friend, Susan, spent all her time with the lead singer of the band, and backed into someone. In her haste she almost lost her balance. Strong arms caught her and held her upright as a voice said, audible above the music but not loud, “Whoa, there honey, take it easy.”

Jessica whirled, embarrassed, to mumble an apology. All her words faded away when she gazed into his eyes, dark brown and richer than sweet chocolate. He looked back with interest and she felt a strong sense of attraction. He wasn’t the kind of guy she would give a second glance under any other circumstance but tonight she couldn’t look anywhere else. Everything about him was opposite of what she liked in a man – she liked tailored, Brooks Brothers business charm and he radiated country cowboy.

He fit into his faded Wranglers as if they’d been made just for his long legs and his pearl snap button blue patterned Western shirt suited him. He towered above her, taller by several inches even without the worn cowboy boots he wore. She inhaled his scent, a potent mixture of musky cologne, tobacco smoke, and beneath it all, Irish Spring soap. His hands, still holding her arms, were warm against her bare skin and she was glad, now, that she’d worn the black silk halter top despite the cold instead of the red sweater she’d worn to school. Jessica made her voice work with effort, “Thank you.”

“No problem,” he said and she drank in his voice, strong and comforting with just
enough Oklahoma twang to make it interesting. “Would you care to dance?”

“I’d love it,” Jessica said as he released his grip on her arms to grab her hand
instead. “My name’s Jessica Martin.”

“I’m Johnny,” he said and she committed the name to memory, “Johnny Devereaux.”

He led her onto the tiny dance floor just as Mark began to sing the softer, sweeter
vintage country song, Lookin’ For Love. The old Johnny Lee song she remembered from that movie, Urban Cowboy, now felt like a theme song. She recalled watching it one late night in college, hating the boot scooting dance moves and the mechanical bull riding but loving the scene where Debra Winger danced to this same music with John Travolta. Such a coincidence she mused, Johnny Lee, John Travolta, and Johnny Devereaux.

Johnny put his arms around her and she cuddled close against him for the slow dance.

They swayed together, their easy motions in time with the music, and she felt safe. Jessica’s head fell short of his shoulder and so as they danced, she could hear the steady rhythm of his heartbeat. Above them, the stationary silver ball that must have once spun reflected the colorful Christmas lights strung above the bar and Jessica felt the strangest sense of coming home in his arms. She wanted to stay there forever, wrapped in that magic cocoon of his embrace, and hold this moment close to her heart.

And a few places readers, friends, and fans can find me:

A Page In The Life
Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
On Twitter @leeannwriter
On Facebook Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy


Thanks for sharing, Lee Ann!  The story sounds fabulous, and I can’t wait to read it!

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