Shannon here: Suspense author, Donn Taylor shares how he met his wife plus an excerpt of his hero and heroine’s first meeting. Comment on any post dated Sept 3 – 7th for a chance to win Donn’s latest release, Deadly Additive. Deadline: Sept 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donn:
How did you meet your wife?
The odds were against our ever meeting. Mildred lived in Northeast Mississippi and I lived in Central Mississippi. But I worked one summer on staff at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly in North Carolina and dated Mildred’s older sister, who also worked there. For the next two summers I worked there again, and occasionally dated a second older sister. Meanwhile, my parents moved to the town she lived in and taught at the college there. But the odds were still against us. The draft flushed me out for a year in the Army, and when I returned, Mildred’s family had moved to another town. Things moved our way, though, because the second older sister remained there in college. Mildred visited her during spring break, and the three of us hiked a mile or two out of town to one of the local sights.
During the hike I learned that Mildred was age 18, not the 16 I’d thought she was. That made her only two years younger than I, and thus dateable. Better yet, she had spunk: When I teased her, she not only teased back but bested me at it. In the process, she smiled and her eyes flashed. Once. That pretty well did it for me.
When she entered college there in the fall, we began dating. By Christmas we knew we truly enjoyed just being together. In January, a snowstorm isolated the town so that no one could get out or in. By the time the snow melted, we had made our commitment to love for a lifetime. (The snow melted without any help from us. We were sorry to see our winter wonderland fade, but our love did not fade with it.)
We married as soon as I finished college. By then I’d been recalled to the Army for the Korean War, but she married me anyway. Now we’re older by sixty years, four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, and we’re still very much in love—only more so. We think all that makes a pretty good start.
How do your hero and heroine meet?
In my novel Deadly Additive, hero and heroine seem unlikely to meet. Jeb Sledge is a soldier of fortune based in Houston. Kristin Halvorsen is a journalist from Minnesota. But Kristin has the opportunity for the story of a lifetime if she will take heiress Jocelyn Spinner with her to investigate a massacre of villagers in Colombia. But there is a catch: on the cruel whim of Jocelyn’s father, the two women must swap identities.
So when the two are kidnapped by Colombian guerrillas and Jeb is hired to rescue them, he thinks Jocelyn is Kristin and Kristin is Jocelyn. As the two women languish under guard in a darkened guerrilla hut, this is what happens:
Excerpt from Deadly Additive:
Kristin and Jocelyn exchanged a questioning glance, then stared again at the door. Nothing happened for a moment. Then the door opened the merest crack and an object like a rock flew into the room. It bounced and rolled toward the guard’s feet. Terrified, Kristin recognized it as a hand grenade. She sat frozen, startled by the sound of her own gasp. The guard lowered his rifle and tried frantically to pick up the still-rolling grenade.
The door flew open and a huge man in uniform charged into the room. He held a strange-looking pistol with both hands and carried a rifle slung over his shoulder. The guard spun back toward the door and raised his own rifle. There was a spitting sound and the guard’s motion stopped. His eyes glazed and he pitched forward onto the floor.
The apparition in the doorway cast its gaze around the hut, the pistol tracking back and forth across the two women. His image stamped itself indelibly on Kristin’s consciousness. Monstrous size, not tall but exceptionally wide. Powerfully muscled shoulders. A strong, well-featured face, but cork-blackened in crisscross patterns. In other circumstances it might have been pleasant, but now it was marred by a murderous pair of deep-set gray eyes more terrifying than those of her captors. Was this one of the savage paramilitaries she’d been warned about?
The intruder’s eyes searched out each corner of the hut. Apparently satisfied, he lowered his pistol to his side, his finger still caressing the trigger. With his other hand he picked up the grenade and fastened it to his shoulder harness. His gaze settled on Kristin. She recoiled from its intensity but forced herself to meet it squarely.
She summoned her most demanding voice. “Who are you? What do you want?”
The apparition grinned. “Jocelyn, your father sent me to bring you home. Our lives depend on how quickly we move.”
About Donn: Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree at The University of Texas and taught English literature (especially Renaissance) at two liberal arts colleges. His novels The Lazarus File and Rhapsody in Red have received excellent reviews, and he has also authored Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences such as Glorieta and Blue Ridge. He and his wife live near Houston, Texas, where he continues to write fiction, poetry, and articles on current topics.
About the book – Deadly Additive: To soldier-of-fortune Jeb Sledge it seems like a simple job: Rescue an heiress and her journalist friend Kristin Halvorsen from their kidnapping by Colombian guerrillas and collect a sizable paycheck. But Kristin has other plans. After stumbling onto a mass of dead bodies, she won’t leave Colombia without the proof she needs for the story of a lifetime. While she and Jeb wrangle over her obstinacy, they discover a hidden factory where the guerrillas build a new and deadly type of chemical weapon for the international black market. Their discovery triggers a raid on the factory, followed by a desperate search through the Caribbean and the U.S. to prevent a catastrophic attack by weapons the factory has produced. But who is behind that attack, and what are the planned targets? Finding out brings Jeb and Kristin again into peril for their lives.
Come back Sept 10th for Laura V. Hilton!