Literary Lagniappe

Bloopers, bonus features, and behind the scenes views from all your favorite romances

The Making of Pink Neon by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy


Bíonn dhá insint ar scéal agus dhá leagan déag ar amhrán

My favorite Irish proverb says there are at least two versions of every story and a dozen version of every song.  As a writer and author I agree.  When I first began my upcoming new release, a contemporary romance from Rebel Ink Press, titled Pink Neon, I had a beginning and I thought I knew how it would take shape and form.  It begins with a woman driving a vintage fire engine red GTO over the hills and curves in the Ozarks, a woman too exotic to be a native with her dark skin and corn-rowed braids.  She’s brave, though, and bold as she comes to start over, to begin again in a different place in order to realize her dreams.  I write fiction in many lengths, everything from flash fiction to full-length novels.  Most of the time I think I know how long a new project will be when finished but there are exceptions and Pink Neon is one.

Pink Neon

When I began, I thought I was writing a short, something in the 10-20K word range because these have proven to be very popular among some readers.  But by the end of the first chapter, I knew Pink Neon had too much depth and multiple layers, far more than could be revealed or resolved without more length.  Cecily, my heroine, revealed herself before I ever began writing but my hero, an FBI agent named Daniel Padilla strolled into my story and made it his tale, too.  Here’s an excerpt where he explains his background to Cecily, an African-American woman with a white father, one she never knew.

 A faint hint of his masculine musk, a combination of his cologne and natural body scent, met her nose.  Rhythmic music, more chant than song, issued from the speakers of his CD player and it took a few seconds before she realized what she heard – Native American music.  The steady drum and the combined voices weren’t like anything Cecily had ever listened to but as she found something soothing in the sound.

“I can turn it off if you don’t like it,” Daniel said.

“No, please, I’m intrigued,” she replied. “What is it?”

“The group’s called Southern Thunder and they did a lot of intertribal music.  It’s pretty much what you’d hear at a pow-wow.  I’m guessing you’ve never been to one?”

Pleased she’d guessed right about Native American music, Cecily laughed. “No, I never had much of a chance growing up in Chicago.  The last few years, I wasn’t around anyone who’d have any interest either but I always thought it would be awesome.”

His deep brown eyes gazed at her.   “Yeah, it can be,” Daniel told her. “I’m part Comanche, Mexican from both sides of the family and some old-fashioned Southern redneck with a sprinkle of Irish in there somewhere. Hell of a mix, huh?”

She eyed him with the kind of appetite a kid develops in a donut shop. “Looks like it works, Daniel, besides, my family tree isn’t much less complicated.  My mama always called it All-American mutt.”

My own heritage is also All American mutt, a combination of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds.  My family tree is filled with varied branches and any nationality, race, or religion not in my direct lineage is there, branched off from one relative or another.  We’re Irish and Cherokee, English and Welsh, German and a bit of French.  We’re Catholic and Jewish and Baptist and other faiths.  In one of my other novels, a World War II era historical, In The Shadow of War (Rebel Ink Press) one reader contacted me and was irate because the hero, Ben Levy, is a practicing Catholic but with a Jewish papa.  As a Jew, she felt offended and thought it was impossible.  But, as I told her, it happened then as well as now and in my family, it was the norm.

In The Shadow of War cover

So Pink Neon grew from a story about one woman seeking a new life and a fresh start to a romance between two seemingly unlikely people but it works.  I built it page by page, scene by scene.

*GIVEAWAY: One commenter will win their choice of any of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy’s books from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Contest ends on June 27, 2013 at 11:59PM EDT.


My workspace

You can find more out about me on my Facebook author page:

From Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Pink Neon like my other titles will be available at, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance Ebooks.


Author: emilycale

Erotic romance writer. Runs on caffeine and wine. Don't feed after midnight.

5 thoughts on “The Making of Pink Neon by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

  1. I love the phrase “All-American Mutt.” That’s excellent! Thanks for hanging out with us today Lee Ann!

  2. Thank you for having me as a guest today!

  3. I started my novel, Blue Hydrangeas, as a short story and it kind of got away from me and become a novel, so I understand what you’re talking about. Books can take on a life of their own, which makes writing so interesting.

  4. I’m so glad that PINK NEON continued to grow, it looks like story I will not want to leave in a hurry.

  5. Sounds like a great book…definitely going on my tbr list!!! Congrats on your book 🙂

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