Wednesday Special Spotlight A DIFFERENT VIEWPOINT

Take care of your eyes, my friends. Too much sun takes its toll. My thanks to C.D. Hersh for sharing my story.

C.D. Hersh

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The sunglass wearing Anne Montgomery who is sharing her new vision and part of her latest novel. Be sure to get your copy today!

Twenty years into my officiating career, my superiors finally relented and allowed me and my peers to wear sunglasses in the field, but, by then, my eyes were already damaged.

“You’re blood pressure is a little high,” the nurse said.

I smiled. “Could it be that you’re about to stick sharp objects in my eyeball while I’m awake?”

My flippant answer belied the fact that I was certainly nervous, since the surgeon would soon be probing the inner recesses of my eye which a scalpel, a tiny ultrasound wand, and an itty-bitty vacuum cleaner. That I had waited patiently for my insurance company to cover the surgery for years did not make me feel any better as they wheeled me into…

View original post 1,040 more words

Friends become characters

Authors are often asked how they create characters. In my case, as my friends and family now realize, they are sometimes inspired by people I know.

My long-time sweetie pie seemed shocked when he read his words coming out of a character’s mouth.

“Hey! I said that!”

“Yes, you did.” I admitted. “Thank you.”

As a former reporter, I tend to think everyone’s words are fair game. If you’re going to fling them out into the universe, don’t be upset if I catch them and keep them for my own.

At other times, I’ve incorporated friends’ stories into my characters. In my upcoming book, A Light in the Desert, which is scheduled for release on November 6, 2018, I borrowed numerous times from the life of my dear late friend Don Clarkson. I have written before about how Don and I met umpiring amateur baseball, a time during which I struggled with debt, a crumbling marriage, and joblessness following what would be the end of my TV-reporting career. That I spent a great deal of time feeling sorry for myself is an understatement.

Don, on the other hand, complained very little. This was astonishing in retrospect, considering the suffering he endured. Don was a decorated Green Beret, a sergeant who served alongside South Vietnam’s ARVN soldiers in the 9th Infantry during the war. His time in country was brutal and, like many servicemen and women, Don relived those experiences until he died at the age of 61 from a combination of Post Traumatic Stress and the myriad devastating effects of Agent Orange poisoning.

Don and I umpired baseball together for five years. During that time, he shared his stories with me. He was gravely wounded and left to die, but was saved by a South Vietnamese soldier who returned to the aftermath of a jungle fight to look for him. He was sometimes crushed by guilt, because of war-time life-and-death decisions and because – unlike many of the men he knew – he had managed to survive and come home. Tears would well in his eyes as he spoke about the soldiers – his brothers – that were lost.

Me and Don Baseball

Don Clarkson and I met on a baseball field and would spend five years as umpiring partners.

And still, when we would sit in our folding chairs in a school parking lot, waiting for the second half of a double-header to begin, he sometimes spoke about the beauty of Vietnam and his love and admiration for the people who lived there.

One of the main characters in A Light in the Desert, is, like Don, a Vietnam veteran with memories that torment him. But Jason Ramm is also a sniper turned post-war governmental assassin, which Don was not. What they share is a deep desire for peace and forgiveness, which neither of them believe they deserve.

I wrote A Light in the Desert for Don. His wife Marie read the story to him before he died. I believe he understood Jason Ramm and recognized him as a brother. I also know that Don seemed appreciative that I shared some of his story and that I dedicated the book to him.

5-7 Anne_and_Don_1

I miss my friend and the talks we used to have. Though he struggled mightily, Don always looked for the best in people and for beauty in the world.

A Light in the Desert-cov (6)

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.

 

 

A Light the Desert to launch on November 6, 2018

A Light in the Desert-cov (6)

In 1995, I became intrigued by a crime. The deadly sabotage of the Amtrak Sunset Limited near remote Hyder, Arizona remains a cold-case 23 years later. The FBI continues to offer a $310,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

My novel, A Light in the Desert, is based on the crime and, as a former reporter, I made sure the facts surrounding the event are as they occurred.  The book was originally published in 2004. That said, I am very excited that Treehouse Publishing, a branch of the Amphorae Publishing Group – the folks who released my novel The Scent of Rain – decided to reissue the book.

But A Light in the Desert, which is set for release on November 6, 2018, is more than a detailed account of an act that could be a copy-cat crime based on a similar unsolved sabotage that killed 24 people in Harney, Nevada in 1939. My novels are always about people who struggle with events and issues in their lives and communities.

I am looking forward to sharing introductions of those characters with you over the next weeks. There’s the protagonist, a former military sniper who is succumbing to a strange form of mental illness called the Jerusalem Syndrome, the pregnant 16-year-old shunned because of a facial disfigurement, the Children of Light who have secluded themselves in the desert for decades as they wait for the rapture, and others.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure.

 

the-scent-of-rain-cover-200x300-copy

Anne Montgomery’s novel, The Scent of Rain – winner of the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards West-Mountain – Best Regional Fiction Bronze Medal – tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold. 

Book Review: The Anomaly is great fun!

The Anomaly

Michael Rutger

Grand Central Publishing

unnamed

Four stars out of 5

What a romp!

I had just finished a deep, insightful, and quite frankly, difficult-to-read novel, and Michael Rutger’s The Anomaly was the perfect antidote. I am not generally a fast reader, still I finished this book in 24 hours. (OK, I was on vacation at the time, but for me, such rapid reading is quite a feat.)

Rutgers’s tale centers around the often hysterical and periodically terrifying story of Nolan Moore, one of those supposed “experts” we are often introduced to on those TV shows that purport to prove that aliens do exist, the pyramids were built by extra-terrestrials, and monsters walk among us. That Moore is very intelligent and well-spoken does little to boost his self-esteem. He’s pretty sure he’s a boob, which makes both his internal and external dialogue hilarious.

The basis of the book can be found in a 1909 article published in the Phoenix Gazette documenting a strange set of Grand Canyon caves and relics, supposedly linking the American Southwest with ancient Egypt. Moore, with his camera crew in tow, is on a quest to locate the caves, though he doesn’t really expect to find anything. That’s his shtick.

The story, which can be labeled as mystery, suspense, and horror with some comedy thrown in, borrows liberally from well-known films. Which makes sense since Rutger is a screenwriter. There’s actually a giant, rolling stone ball – à la Indian Jones – and a horrid monster clawing its way out of an unfortunate reporter’s belly – think Alien – still, as silly as that sounds, it works.

The hunt takes the crew down the Colorado River, up the Canyon walls, and into the cave system. Note that this is not a story for the claustrophobic. Lots of squeezing though tight tunnels and brushes with bizarre creatures in the dark. What they find is … really not the point. It is the journey that matters and who is alive at the end to recount the tale.

I will admit here to being an avowed Trekkie and a lover of the original X-Files. And I read all of Eric von Daniken’s books about the mysteries of the unexplained as a teenager. So, I am probably right smack in the middle of Rutger’s target audience. But, even if your not part of that crew, read The Anomaly, just for the fun of it.

 

the-scent-of-rain-cover-200x300-copy

Anne Montgomery’s latest novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The healing powers of anticipation

My 93-year-old mom insisted on having hip-replacement surgery.

“You might die on the table,” the doctor said.

“I don’t care!” She jutted her chin at the man. “I’m sick of the pain.”

That my mother would eventually win the argument was no surprise. People who know Mary Anne stopped disagreeing with her years ago. There’s simply no point. She’s always right.

She’d had the other hip done 11 years earlier with no complications, so she was shocked when she recovered from the anesthesia and was overwhelmed with pain and nausea. She refused to take pain medication and claimed that the surgery had been botched.

I explained that recovery would take time and she needed to reconsider the pain meds. She had in-home nursing and physical therapy, professionals who repeatedly reminded her that it might be months before she would feel better.

Prior to the operation, I had tried out for a play. When I got a part, I explained to my mom that I would be required to attend rehearsals. She insisted that I not let her surgery get in the way. So, I went home.

Mom struggled. Not only with the pain but with my 95-year-old dad. He’s in perfect health, and can tell you vivid stories about World War II and growing up in a coal-mining town in Pennsylvania. But he can’t recall what you asked him to do ten seconds earlier.

The caregivers knew to call me, if I could be of some assistance. I spoke with my mom and dad on the phone. My brother came down to help out for a while. Still, I felt guilty for not being there.

Last weekend, the Starlight Community Theater production of the musical comedy Company ended its eight-show run. Both my mom and dad were in the audience, the first time they’ve seen me perform in a play in over 40 years.

Company Me, Mom, Ry and Dad

My mom had healed enough to ditch her wheelchair for a walker and attended the last performance of Company with my Dad and sweetie pie Ryan.

It was not until I returned to their home in Tucson that I would learn how the play helped my mother heal. As I was leaving the independent-living facility, a woman stopped me.

“How’s your mom doing?” she smiled.

“Feisty as ever. I just brought them home. They came up to Phoenix to see me perform in a show.”

“The play. Yes, I know.” She stared for a moment. “When your mom first started rehab she was depressed and stopped eating.”

“Really?”  No one had told me.

“Then she announced that she would be attending your play. And she started eating again and doing her exercises.”

“I had no idea.”

On the drive home, I wondered whether my mom would have rebounded had she not had the play to look forward to. While I don’t know the answer, I realized the importance of looking ahead to something that gives us joy. Anticipation is a dying art in our instant-gratification world. Perhaps, we should practice the emotion more often.

 

the-scent-of-rain-cover-200x300-copy

Anne Montgomery’s latest novel, The Scent of Rain, tells the story of two Arizona teenagers whose fates become intertwined. Rose flees into the mountains to escape from her abusive polygamous community where her only future is marriage to a man older than her father. Adan, whose only wish is to be reunited with his mother, is on the run from the cruelties of the foster care system. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?  The Scent of Rain is available at https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780996390149 and wherever books are sold.