Susan Clayton-Goldner recently released A Bend In The Willow, a Contemporary Romance with Tirgearr Publishing.
Willowood, Kentucky 1965—Robin Lee Carter sets a fire that kills her rapist, then disappears. She reinvents herself and is living a respectable life as Catherine Henry, married to a medical school dean in Tucson, Arizona. In 1985, when their 5-year-old son, Michael, is diagnosed with a chemotherapy-resistant leukemia, Catherine must return to Willowood, face her family and the 19-year-old son, a product of her rape, she gave up for adoption. She knows her return will lead to a murder charge, but Michael needs a bone marrow transplant. Will she find forgiveness, and is she willing to lose everything, including her life, to save her dying son?
Beautifully bittersweet – this is the story of Robin Lee’s childhood, the events that formed and tested her, and what she did to finally move on and become the woman known as Catherine Henry. As Catherine her life is everything she dreamed it would be but it is based on lies and she fears that one day she will be exposed. When her five year old son is diagnosed with leukemia and a bone marrow transplant is all that can save him Catherine has to face people and places she has not seen in twenty years. What she finds is an astounding story of giving, living and love.
It has been a long time since a story has moved me to tears! But reading the last chapter of this book about soaked my pillow! This is a beautiful story written with Southern charm. You live through each character. It has also been a long time since I have found a story so beautifully written that you could be reading a movie script. You can just hear the words coming off the page into your mind.
Willowood, Kentucky (1954)
I was seven years old the first time I wished him dead. I remember everything about that cloudless February day. The sky had a dazzling light to it, the kind that bounced off snowdrifts and caught the sparkle in the spider web frost on the school bus windows. It was the kind of light that made dreams seem possible. Even for me. The bus smelled like tangerines, wet wool and half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches left in lunchboxes.
I scooted closer to the window so Nancy couldn’t see me slip my hand inside my book bag to finger the pink envelope where Wayne Stafford had printed my full name with a heart drawn around it. Robin Lee Carter. As soon as I finished my chores I planned to paint a snowman card with a heart, instead of a carrot, for a nose.
Nancy poked me in the shoulder. “You got a secret in there?”
I shook my head. Nancy Preston and I swore we’d never keep secrets from each other. But this was a new feeling and I didn’t have the words to explain it yet, even to my best friend.
When the doors swung open on Bear Hollow Road, a string of yelping kids hopped from the bottom step and raced toward the sleds they’d left at the crest of the hill. I caught up with Wayne and touched his sleeve. “May I ride your sled?” I was careful to use the proper verb.
Wayne grinned, but before he could say yes, Peggy Thompson, in her red coat with black fur cuffs, stuck her prissy face close to my ear and whispered, loud enough for him to hear, “Robin Lee is nothing but dirty junkyard trash.”
Wayne’s gaze settled on his galoshes before he turned and ran toward the hill.
I stood up real straight, lifted my chin like Momma always said, and pretended it didn’t matter. Although my clothes weren’t as new and fancy as Peggy’s, they were always clean and well mended.
I wanted to brag about the card Wayne had given me, but instead I held my nose and glared at Peggy. “You have cooties and your breath smells like dog poop.”
She gasped, stuffed her hands into a fur muff that hung from a braided cord around her neck and marched away, her finger curls bobbing with each step.
Nancy slapped her palm over her mouth to hold in the giggles, but she couldn’t hide the sparkle in her blue eyes. Her mom worked on Tuesdays and Thursdays and paid my momma to babysit after school. I loved those two days better than any other. Even my daddy seemed happier. But today was Wednesday. I waved to Nancy, then ran toward my house, anxious to get the laundry hung so I could paint the snowman card.
Halfway up the drive, I spotted Daddy’s pickup truck parked at a funny slant, its front tires in the flowerbed Momma had covered with pine needles for the winter. Right away, I figured he’d been drinking. My heart thumped, but not in the good way it had when I found Wayne’s valentine. Daddy’s drinking moods were dangerous, like someone sprayed poison into the air. I knew my life was different and sometimes knowing that was like skin pinched inside the teeth of a zipper.
ABOUT Susan Clayton-Goldner
Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers' Association Novel Award twice for unpublished novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.
Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count.
#excerpt #MFRWAuthor #Thursday13 1001 Nights Press A. Catherine Noon A.B. Gayle A.C. Arthur A.D. McLain Abbie St.Claire AC Katt Adam Mann Adele Downs Adelle Laudau Adera Orfanelli Adite Banerjie Adriana Kraft Aidee Ladnier Aileen Fisher Aithne Jarretta Akaria Gale Alethea Williams Aletheia von Gottlieb Alice Orr Alison McMahan Allison Knight Ally Shields Amber Kallyn Amber Polo Amy Quinton Ana E Ross Andrea Cooper Andrea Parnell Angela Benedetta Angela Benedetti Angela Drake Angela Quarles Angela Scavone Angela Smith Anita Philmar Anna Alexander Anna Durand Anna James Anne Ashby Anne Carrole Anne Kane Annemarie Brear anthology Ashley Ladd Ashley York Author Interview Author Spotlight Autumn Piper Ava Martell Avalon Alexander Avril Ashton Ayla Ruse Azure Boone BA Tortuga Barb Caffrey Barbara Donlon Bradley Barbara Edwards Barbara Lohr Barbara Meyers Barbara White Daille bdsm Ben Tanner Berengaria Brown Berkley Heat Bet Trissel Beth Barany Beth Caudill Beth Rhodes Beth Yarnall Betty Jean McLain Bev Irwin Black Opal Books Blaine D. Arden blog hop Blushing Books book bundle Book Hooks book party Book Spotlight BookStrand Romance Boroughs Publishing Brannan Black Breathless Press Brenda Jernigan Brenda Novak Brenda Sparks Brenda Whiteside Brina Brady Brita Addams Bruce Jenvey Brynna Curry C.C. Marks C.R. Moss Calisa Rhose Campbell Hill Publishing Candace Sams Cara Carnes Caridad Pineiro Carina Press Carly Carson Carmen Stefanescu Carmen Webster Buxton Caroline Clemmons Caroline Warfield Cassandra Carr Cat Grant Cat Johnson Catherine E. McLean catherine gardiene Cathie Dunn Cathy Perkins Catrina Barton Cecilia Tan Celine Chatillon Cera duBois Champagne Books Changeling Press Chanta Rand Chantilly White Charmaine Gordon Chelle Cordero Cherise Sinclair chick lit chris redding Christi Williams Christian Phillips Christian Romance Christina Routon Christina Tetreault Christine Fairchild Christine Young Christmas Cinsearae S. Clare Dargin Coleen Kwan contemporary romance Contest Entry Cora Blu Cora J. Ramos Crimson Romance Cupid Publishing Cynnara Tregarth Cynthia Cynthianna D Dominik Wickles D.X. Luc Dahlia Dewinters Dani Wade Dariel Raye Dawn Montgomery Dax Varley Dean Pace-Frech Debra Andrews Decadent Publishing Delaney Diamond Denise Devine Denise Patrick Denyse Bridger Desert Breeze Publishing Desiree Holt Dev Bentham Diana Rubino Diane Burton Donna Gallagher Donna June Cooper Donna Maloy DP Denman Dreamspinner Press Dystopian Eden Winters Ednah Walters eKensington EL Esch Elaine Cantrell Elise VanCise Elizabeth Kolodziej Ellora's Cave EM Lynley Emerald Emily Ryan Davis Entangled Erika Kelly Erin McRae Erin O'Quinn erotic romance erotica Etopia Press Evernight Publishing eXtasy Books fantasy Fated Desires Featured Author of the Month Flame Arden Flossie Benton Rogers Frances Pauli Gail Olmsted Gail Roughton Branan Gale Stanley Georgie Lee Gerri Bowen Ginger Simpson giveaway GLBT Glenn Maynard Greta Buckle Guy Ogan Gwenna Sebastian H. Lewis-Foster Hachette/Forever Harlequin Heartspell Media Heather Curley Heather Long Heaven O'Shey Helen Ellis Helen Henderson historical romance holiday romance Holley Trent Hywela Lyn Indie Published Ines Johnson inspirational romance interracial Irene Preston Iris Blobel J.C. Conway J.F. Jenkins J.L. Sheppard Jackie Leigh Allen Jacquie Biggar Jami Gray Jana Richards Jane Leopold Quinn Jane Toombs Janet Mullany Janie Franz Jannine Corti Petska Jasmine Hill Jaymi Hanako Jean Joachim Jeanne Barrack Jenna Storm Jennette Green Jennifer Britt Jennifer France Jennifer Lynne Jerri Hines Jerrie Alexander Jerry Race Jessi Gage Jessica Cale Jessica E. Subject Jianne Carlo Jill Blake JJ DiBenedetto JJ Keller JM Maurer JM Stewart JMS Books Jolie Pethtel Joselynn Vaughn Joyce Holmes Joyce Palmer Juli Revezzo Julia Talbot Julie Eberhart Painter Juliette Springs June Kramin June Shaw Jupiter Gardens Press K. Lynn K. Starling K.A. M'lady K.E. Saxon Karen Blake Karen Cino karen cote Karen Lopp Karen McCullough Karen Michelle Nutt Karenna Colcroft Kathleen Rowland Kathryn R. Blake Kathy Kulig Katya Armock Kay Dee Royal Kayelle Allen Kaylin McFarren KC Klein Kelley Heckart Kendra James Kenra Daniels Kensington Keta Diablo Killarney Sheffield Killian McRae Kim McMahill Kimberly Dean KindleUnlimited Kingsburg Press Kissa Starling kristen ethridge Kristina Knight Kryssie Fortune L.A. Remenicky L.A. Sartor L.C. Chase L.C. Giroux Lace Daltyn Lauren Linwood Laverne Thompson Lazy Day Publishing Lee Rowan Leta Blake Libby McKinmer Liese Sherwood-Fabre Limitless Publishing Linda Banche Linda Bond Linda Hoover Linda McLaughlin Linda Mooney Linda Rae Sande Lindsey R. Loucks Liquid Silver Lis Anne Harris Lisa Carlisle Lisabet Sarai Livia Quinn Lizzi Tremayne Lizzie T. Leaf Lloyd A. Meeker Loose Id Lorelei Confer Louisa Masters Louise Lyndon Luanna Nau Luanna Stewart Lucy Francis Lynda Bailey Lynda Coker Lynda Kaye Frazier Lyndi Lamont Lynette Sofras Lynn Cahoon lynn crain Lynn Gale Lynn Montagano Lyric James Lyrical Press M.K. Gilher M.S. Kaye M.S. Spencer Mackenzie Crowne Madeline Archer Madeline Pryce Mae Clair Maggi Andersen Mahlee Ashwynne Malia Mallory Marci Boudreaux Marcia James Mardi Maxwell Margaret Fieland Margay Leah Justice Margery Scott Margo Bond Collins Maria Alexander Maria-Claire Payne Marianne Rice Marie Harte Marion Webb-De Sisto Martha O'Sullivan Mary J. McCoy-Dressel Mary Montague Sikes Mary Morgan Matthew Lang Meg Benjamin Megan Kelly Melinda Curtis Melissa Fox Melisse Aires Melody Jerva menage Mercedes King Meredith Bond MFRW Author Banner Day Mia Frances Michael Monaghan Michaela Rhua Michelle Roth Mickie Sherwood Miguelina Perez military romance Miriam Newman ML Skye MLR PRess Molle McGregor Mona Karel Multicultural Romance Musa Publishing Muse It Up Publishing N.N. Light Nancy Corrigan Nancy J. Cohen Nancy Marie Bell Naomi Bellina Neil S. Plakcy New Adult New Release Nicky Penttila Nicole Graysen Nicole Hurley-Moore Nicole Zoltack Normandie Alleman North Shore Press Notion Press novella P.A. Estelle P.J. Dean P.J. MacLayne P.S. Singer P.T. Macias Paisley Brown Paloma Beck Paranormal Romance Patricia Preston Patricia Yager Delagrange Pauline Baird Jones Peggy Jaeger Pender Mackie Penny Estelle Phaze Books Pippa Jay PJ Fiala R Costelloe R. Ann Siracusa R.E. Mullins R.M. Sotera Rachael Slate Rachel Haimowitz Rachel Wilder Racheline Maltese Rae Renzi Raven de Hart Reana Malori Rebecca Hunter Rebecca J. Clark Rebel Ink Press Reet Singh regency romance Renee Michaels Renee Reynolds review Rhonda Hopkins Rhonda Jackson Joseph Rianna Morgan Robert Costelloe Robin Glasser Rolynn Anderson romantic comedy Romantic Mystery Romantic Suspense Rosalie Redd Rosanna Leo rose anderson Roz Lee Rue Allyn Ruth Casie Ruth Kaufman Sabrina York Sadie Grubor Samara King Samhain Publishing Sandy Nachlinger Sapphire Phelan Sara Walter Ellwood Sarah Jae Foster Savannah Chase Savannah Morgan scifi romance Secret Cravings Publishing Selena Illyria Self Published Shannyn Schroeder Sharon Clare Shashauna P. Thomas Shauna Knight Shauna Roberts Shelley Munro Sheri Fredricks Sherry Ewing Shirleen Davies Silver Publishing Siren Publishing SKN Hammerstone Sloane Kennedy Snap Dragon Press Soul Mate Publishing Sourabh Khanna spanking romance Stacey Brutger Stacy Eaton Stacy Juba Starla Kaye Steampunk Stephanie Queen Stevie Woods Stormy Night Publications Sultry Summers Susan Behon Susan Frances Susan Jaymes Susan Sofayov Suz deMello Suzanne Rock Suzzana Ryan Sydney Jane Baily Sylvia McDaniel Synithia Williams Tamara Hoffa Tami Brothers Tara Lain Tarah Scott Tasarla Romaney Teagan Oliver Tena Stetler Teresa Reasor The Wild Rose Press Thea Dawson thursday13 Tiffany Daune Time Travel Romance Tina Donahue Tina Gayle Tmonique Stephans Toni Noel Torquere Press Totally Bound Trevann Rogers Tricia Schneider urban fantasy Ursula Sinclair Ute Carbone V.S. Tice Vicki Batman Vicky Burkholder Victoria M Noxon Victoria Pinder Vijaya Schartz Viola Ryan w. lynn chantale W.M. Kirkland Wendy Lynn Clark Wendy Soliman Western Romance Whiskey Creek Press Wild Child Publishing Willa Blair women's fiction Yolanda Ashton Young Adult Zeenat Mahal Zrinka Jelic