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.
Guy’s Angel is born out of the old stories, birthed out of the vintage streets of the old’ hood, and inspired by my own love of flight. The story is fiction but the setting is very real or was. My grandparents brought it to life for me in their tales and I hope I did the same for readers.
My grandmothers came from two different generations, my Granny who came of age in the late 1910’s and 1920’s, and my Grandma who was more part of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Granny was my caregiver, my babysitter while my parents worked. Granny and Pop reared me as if I’d been their child so I’ve always been out of sync with my own generation. And they both told stories, many tales. The 1920’s were their heyday and my Granny lived in what I like to think of as the “old” family neighborhood, part of the same area of town but a different section. My grandparents lived there at one time, my dad grew up there, my mom was born (at home) in a house there, and in my childhood I still had relatives who lived there. One of my uncles had the area as his postal route.
The places in the story are real enough. Wyeth Hill remains a bluff top park overlooking the Missouri River and over into Kansas where Rosecrans Airport is located today. The streets are actual streets and the places my characters visit were real in 1925 in St. Joseph. Krug Park remains a beautiful place today and the doctor they visited (you’ll have to read the book to find out why) existed. My family bought the house from a family of doctors, first non-related folks to own it, and in 1925, the doctor had his office in his home. In the early drafts, I let a few relatives read it and they loved the way I brought the old neighborhood to life.
Here’s the blurb:
When a young woman really believes the sky is the limit, amazing things can happen…
Lorraine Ryan wants to fly airplanes so she heads for the local airstrip in 1925 to make her dream come true. Most of the flyboys think she’s cute but a woman’s place is in the home, not the cockpit. When Guy Richter steps up and offers to teach her to fly, she’s captivated with both Guy and flight. He nicknames her “Angel” and takes her up into that wild blue yonder. Before long, they’re deep in love. Love, however, isn’t always enough……
Guy, a former World War I flying ace, is haunted by his past. His demons include his war service, the death of his only brother in an accident the previous year, and the Valkyries that he evaded in France who trail him in the hopes that they can complete his destiny. But his dreams lie with Angel and as they grow closer and closer, he soon realizes that if anyone can save him, it’s his Angel.
As she started back across the field, mincing a little in her patent leather shoes, she heard one of the fellows rag her new friend.
“Hey, Guy, what did you want to do that for? This dumb Dora won’t learn how to fly.” She paused, marked his name and listened for the answer. When it came, she grinned all the more.
“The kid deserves a fair chance. Angel’s going to show up all the rest of you, just wait and see.”
With those simple words, he baptized her “Angel” and she knew it was who she would be with them, forever. She liked it very much.
Because they could no longer see her face, she let the grin she’d been hiding stretch across her mouth and once out of sight, she ran like a kid going home from school. To get to where she lived on Poulin Street with her mother and brother, she had to wind through long blocks no matter which way she took but when she climbed the hill to the small house near the top of the river bluffs, she paused long enough to pull back her hair and smooth her dress down.
“Is it you, Lorraine?” her mother called from the kitchen at the rear.
“Yes, Mama,” she said, schooling her face to innocence. Her mother didn’t understand her fascination with airplanes and the men who flew them. She also didn’t like the fact Lorraine painted her lips and sometimes her face. As a widow, she worked baking cakes and other sweet treats at the Federal Bakery in downtown St. Joseph. “What’s for supper?”
“Hamburg steaks,” Mama replied. “You’re late. Did you work over?”
“Nah,” she said, hating to lie more than she must. “I stopped to talk with some friends of mine and lost track of the time.”
Mama, always tired since Lorraine’s father died, sighed as she removed the hamburger steaks from the skillet and filled a bowl with fried potatoes. “Go wash up, then, and tell Frank to come to the table.”
As she washed her hands with Ivory soap and splashed her face with cool water, Lorraine looked at her own reflection to see if her inner excitement could be seen. Her face appeared normal, even placid so she stuck her head into the tiny back bedroom and told her brother, “Supper’s ready so c’mon.”
Frank, fifteen, bolted for the kitchen after putting aside the library book he read. Unlike Lorraine, he still went to classes over at the new high school, first named North High, now called Lafayette.
“Where you been?” he asked as he passed her like a whirlwind.
“None of your business,” she answered.
“I saw you heading out toward French Bottoms after school.”
“So, you want to tell me?”
She hesitated and then said, “I’ll tell you later if you promise not to tell Mama one word about it.”
He lifted his hand in the familiar gesture. “Scout’s honor.”
Mama’s voice shrilled from the kitchen, “Come on, it’s getting cold!”
“I’ll tell you later,” she hissed before she hurried back to the table.
They ate with little conversation, her mother staring off into space as she so often did these days, thinking about her late husband or wondering how she might pay the bills or worrying about her wild daughter. Lorraine thought it might be the latter but she wasn’t sure and with the chance to fly in her immediate future, she wasn’t going to do or say anything to cause a ruckus.
Lorraine didn’t share her plans with Frank until Wednesday night when Mama headed off to visit her sister and they stayed behind. Frank pleaded a heavy load of homework and she claimed to have “her time” so they were excused. As soon as she watched her mom trod down Poulin Street hill, she turned to her brother with a grin, “I’m going flying on Saturday!” She dropped the piece of news with as much quiet confidence as she could summon. Like her, Frank loved to walk over to Wyeth Hill, the little park perched on top of the river bluffs where they could watch the planes take off from the airfield. Both brother and sister spent many hours watching the aircraft take off and soar into the skies over the Missouri River. Now Frank looked at his sister, open-mouthed.
“Applesauce!” he said. “Go on, you’re not.”
“I am! One of the aces told me he would take me up and if I like it, he said he’ll teach me to fly!”
“Jeepers! You ain’t serious, are you?”
“I am, Frankie,” Lorraine said. “And I need a favor, kid brother. I need to borrow a pair of your pants and some boots.”
“You got it!” Frank’s enthusiasm was real. “But if you learn to fly, you gotta take me for a ride, Sis.”
“Sure, you can count on it!”
A Page In The Life: http://leannsontheimermurphyblogspotwriterauthor.blogspot.com
Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy: http://leeannsontheimermurphy.blogspot
Seanachie Stories: Tuesday Tales And More: http://seanachiestories-tuesdaytalesandmore.blogspot.com
Thank you for the visit, Lee Ann!