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E-mail From God Guest Post by Ann Lee Miller
An e-mail from God showed up in my in-box last November, during a year I strained to wring out the deeper novel my literary agent was convinced I had in me. I needed to scrape out my emotions and smear them on the page. But I only knew how to shove them inside.
My Chatty Cathy doll tumbled over the stucco banister worn shiny from my family’s hands and those who had lived in the
apartment before us. Salty tears tickled my face. I scooped her up in chubby, six-year-old arms and pulled her string. But she who won me countless friends on a year-long Volkswagen van trip across Miami would never talk again. “Quit your crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about,” my daddy said. Mexico
When I was thirteen, Mama drove me and my six-year-old brother away from
Biscayne Bay and Daddy. We left the sailboat Daddy built in the back yard—where we and our belongings had been crammed into thirty-six feet that smelled of mildew and last night’s fish. Our blue Rambler braked at a house, peering owlishly through black-framed windows. Inside, cold terrazzo floors echoed our footsteps. Mama looked back at us, Jack-in-the-Box smile stitched in place. “Isn’t this a wonderful adventure?”
At nineteen I hurled myself at Jesus, Someone who didn’t think my emotions were too loud and bothersome, Someone who listened to my heart.
For three decades I locked my childhood and my emotions behind Get Smart steel grates. If I wasn’t such an Eeyore, if I had an ounce of gratitude, I would have said my childhood was okay. A lot of people suffered worse.
A flash of blond hair out a firehouse window unearthed a firefighter’s memory of a fifth-grade girl walking home from St. Hugh’s
Catholic School in . He was a sixth-grader who could never understand why his carpool whisked past me day after day as I plodded through a ramshackle, black neighborhood in the sticky heat headed for the marina. Miami
Though we never spoke, the man googled me and e-mailed, “I always thought how sad and lonely you looked.”
I felt as though Jesus pressed three fingers into my right shoulder and said, “Yes, your childhood was sad.” The doors to my past and emotions burst open.
As a child I shut off my voice because it wouldn’t be heard or believed. Now I’m starting to come all-out with my husband, children, and friends. They listen and believe me. They embrace me. I am showing them the core of who I am. Color and intensity of feeling are shooting through my deadness. I am learning to pen pain and joy.
Ironically, in my writing people have told me for years that my unique voice is my strength. Could there be people desperate for my message, could my words be valuable?
God went out of His way to love a girl nobody listened to, to restore her voice and emotions. How can I not speak?
Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in
Phoenix, but left her heart in , where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several New Smyrna Beach, Florida colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Arizona with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives. Superstition Mountains
Back Cover Copy: Stuck in sleepy
one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even New Smyrna Beach ’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her. Cal
The artist in
begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ live. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full. Cal
Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.
Raine’s brother tweaks. Her dream of
Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it’s too late?
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ann-Lee-Miller/356653761022022
Endorsements for Kicking Eternity
First Place Long Contemporary
2009 Romance Writers of
Faith, Hope, and Love Contest
“In Kicking Eternity, Ann Lee Miller masterfully weaves the delicate web of emotions experienced in that turbulent ‘twenty-something’ stage of life. Powerful family dynamics, intense loyalty challenges, and tender new loves find their niche in your heart as this story unfolds layer by lovely layer.”
Mesu Andrews, Author of Revell titles Love’s Sacred Song, and Love Amid the Ashes, which won the 2012 CBA Book of the Year, New Author Category
“Ann Lee Miller writes stories straight from the heart with characters who'll become friends, remaining with you long after you turn that final page. You won't want to miss Kicking Eternity!”
Jenny B. Jones, Author of the Katie Parker Production Series from Think and The Charmed Life Series, and other single titles from Thomas Nelson
"I've lost hours of sleep reading Ann Lee Miller's work due to her uncanny ability to yank me into a story with authentic, lovable, yet challenging characters."