Saturday, ironically, I became inspired to plot, plan and do some research on the next ms. It’s part of a series with fellow writers and I’ve been trying to get a grasp on mine since March. With no luck, except, I knew it would be about a Vietnam war doctor who goes home- since that was the era I had chosen to write it in. I figured it had to do with getting the current one edited through first so I could focus on another project. Maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t, but that one is now steeping before final edits, and Saturday the new one whispered to me.
Of course, I couldn’t ignore it! 🙂
Finally…my hero has a name, first and last, as does the heroine, his mother, and her mother. I’m very pleased with the way this one is starting out. Why? Because it is an historical, which I don’t write…well, I never have until now, guess I can’t say ‘never’ anymore. I love the research, mood settings I’ve fallen into for this one. Since I usually listen to modern pop, rock, and mainly country I needed something to help me sink into the era of Poodle skirts, muscle cars, slower times– and the Beatles, Elvis and the Chiffons. I found a great website that I can choose music for any year I choose. I now live in the sixties while writing. It amazed me the first day how many songs about the Vietnam war, also called ‘the rock and roll war’, were written. If not in bold content, then in subtleties. You just ‘feel’ the times through the music of those war years. But the love and ‘atmosphere’ in the songs of those times is also amazing. Pure. Fun.
It is 1967, and Dr. Sam Callahan has returned home to Silver Town, Oklahoma with more than a little PTSD to contend with. Days after his arrival, he finds himself targeted by Poppy Tippens, the illegitimate daughter of a gypsy. Her black, bouncy curls and pixyish smiles drive the doctor mad in ways the war never could. Poppy’s sights are set on Sam, and a determination to help him create a new life outside the war-torn boundaries of his own mind.
Excerpt from ‘HOME’:
But, he was home now, exposed, naked, making it visible, like a black cloud following him everywhere he went. Folks he’d grown up with, had taunted and pestered, now stared as he headed to McGregor’s Grocery for Ma. The stigma, the brand followed him, Vietnam veteran.
Sam gathered up the bags with his mother’s listed groceries and nudged the door of the store open just as someone barreled through from the outside knocking both paper bags from his arms. “What the…?” He stood watching tomatoes and an orange roll back to the cashier’s checkout stand before he turned to see who had steamrolled him, words ready on his tongue to let the person know he was mad as hell.
“Hey, soldier, you dropped something. Want some help?”
Poppy Tippens. He should have guessed by her sweet flower scented perfume. The girl smelled like Ma’s garden. Not that he’d really noticed what she smelled like, just that she wore enough of it so it was hard to miss if she was in a three block radius.
Now she stood, hands propped on skinny hips, tapping one black-and-white saddle shoe-clad foot impatiently. “Well?”
Before Sam could think what to say she shook her head full of springy black curls and knelt to gather vegetables, toothpaste, and toothbrush along with several other items, in her small hands. “Get me a fresh bag, would ya honey?”
Finally coming to the realization Poppy wasn’t going away, Sam accepted the new bag the cashier held out to him and bent to let her stuff the purchases inside, before going after the escaped fruit. In seconds Poppy had reloaded his bags, though not as orderly as they had been, and stood to hold one as Sam took up the other, before handing him the one she held. “Thanks.”
He couldn’t get out of there fast enough with all the town folk staring, and silent.
As he fled through the door he heard Poppy speak, and his steps faltered as he came to a halt and he turned to stare in disbelief.
“What’s the matter? Ya’ll ain’t never seen a soldier home from that damned war? At least he’s walkin’, and on both feet. Not like Donny Brubaker, poor soul. So quit your staring and get to shopping and leave Sammie be.” With that, Sam watched her slam the door and march up to snake one of the bags into her arms, and start walking. Four steps and she turned, “You comin’, or what?”
She smiled, and Sam forgot how to breathe.
There will be more of this one as I get closer to submission. Right now, that’s all the taste I can offer.
Does this sound like something you would read? I’d love to know.