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September’s Song by Ryan Jo Summers is a Salute Military Event pick #militaryromance #salutemilitary #womensfiction #giveaway

Title:   September’s Song


Author:   Ryan Jo Summers


Genre:   Women’s Fiction, Military romance


Book Blurb:


 Ivey London buried her husband as a war hero and moved on with her life. Five years pass and she learns of a secret chamber where special soldiers are imprisoned to recover. Further, one amnesiac soldier managed to escape. When her son begins to display unusual behaviors, she goes to investigate. All evidence points to finding her late husband. If it is him, back from the dead, she refuses to give him up again.

Keegan London awoke in a hospital cell with no memories. Fleeing, he finds himself in a strange, unknown world, with no one to turn to. Until he finds a friendly Priest who runs a homeless shelter, and he stumbles across the woman who claims to be his wife. While she can fill some gaps in his lost memories, she cannot explain his curious abilities. Pursued by someone determined to get him back, Keegan has few options but to trust the woman who makes his heart fire like a cannon. Ivey has dibs on him, but first they have to uncover who—and what--Keegan really is before they can recover what they had




Ivey’s POV


            Hands going to her pockets, Ivey started for the bus corner. The bus would take her to the subway, the subway would take her to the hospital. By the time she got to the subway, Becca and Jory would take Bismark for his walk. They would take Jory to his school and Becca would take Bismark back home. Hours later, the routes were all repeated in reverse.


            Life was a predictable, stable pattern. Now. Finally.


            Half an hour later Ivey left the subway platform, climbed the steps up and braved the howling wind for the three blocks to where Grace Memorial Hospital stood like a concrete sentinel on the corner. Flags waved high on top of the tenth floor, whipping wildly in the wind as they marked the helicopter landing pad. Shoulders hunched to the early cold, she rushed through the sliding glass doors. Hopefully Jory would be warm enough today.


            Making her way along the winding corridors, riding the elevator to her destination, she finally reached the sixth floor, women’s unit, post-surgery and rehab. Entering the locker room, she removed her coat, donned her scrub jacket and necessary equipment for a long day of nursing. Stethoscope, bandage tape, pencil, pen, and on down the list she went. Her hands busy with routine chores, her mind played over the day’s expected, and usually unexpected, activities. She pulled her long hair into a pony tail, securing it with an elastic band, yellow to match her buttercream scrub top. She kept a small bucket of assorted colors on the shelf to coordinate with her outfit of the day.


            “Ivey, glad I caught you.”


            The voice brought her up short. Spinning, she faced her supervisor.


            “What can I do for you?”


            Dr. Gregory Hines, floor supervisor, favored her with a sympathetic smile. “The new rotation schedule for the VA came out today. You have next week.”


            Ivey felt her shoulders slump. Already? Hadn’t she just done her week of rotation?


            Greg chuckled and swept his arm around her shoulders in a friendly gesture. “Now, Ivey, you know I don’t make out the schedule for them. I’m sorry, but it has been six weeks since you were last over there.”


            She tried for a small laugh, barely succeeding, closing her locker. “You know me so well.”


            His laugh was fuller, louder. “Only because you are so transparent, my dear. Now don’t fret. It’s only one week and that will be it for you until sometime next year.” He started walking with her down the hallway. “Now, doesn’t that make it sound sweeter when put that way?”


            “Not really.”


            He laughed again, full and rich. Reaching his destination, he stopped, pulling his arm away. “Remember, Ivey. Don’t fret, it’s only one week of your life.” Giving her a wink, he stepped into the elevator. “It will be here and gone before you know it.”


            Watching the shiny doors slide shut, she knew that wasn’t the problem. She just loathed anything that took her away from Jory. And going to the VA kept her away an extra three hours a day. And next week he had a special event at school. Now she would have to miss it. She hated asking Becca to attend in her place. Both she and Jory said they understood when her duties called her away, but she could never make it right within her own heart and mind.


            And there was another reason she now had come to dread her week of rotation.


Due to the shortage of nurses permanently at the VA Hospital, Grace Memorial partnered with them and most the nurses did one week working over there. There was a bit of extra money in their wages but most of them felt the same about going. Initially, she welcomed the chance to go, to listen, hungry for any tiny slice of information. Any whispered rumor would have her undivided attention. But over time all the false leads proved to be just that—false. Eventually there was no more news. Time marched on, Jory grew, and she moved on with her life. So now, going to the VA just served to remind her of what she had lost.


            The sudden, childish impulse to pound her fists on the wall rose up within her. A frustrated cry burned her throat as hot tears filled her eyes. Something in her chest lurched painfully. Was it still supposed to hurt so much after five years?


Keegan’s POV



He jerked awake, as though someone had called his name. Except he didn't hear anyone. Dragging in a ragged breath, he blinked against the bright light. His pulse races.  What was happening. Silence greeted him. He was alone. Squinting a couple more times, he realized the blinding light was just a dim glow from the corner.

He sucked in a few deep, calming breaths, slowly taking stock. He was weak. Even without attempting to rise, the room was unsteady and tilting. Beyond that, he seemed to have all the required appendages. He wore a gray T-shirt and solid green boxers.

Step two; who was he? What woke him up? Where was he?

Searching through the darkness in his mind, he found nothing. No words, no names, no clues, and no faces. It was as dark and empty inside his mind as it was inside the room. A couple of scattered gray images floated through like eerie ghosts, unidentifiable and elusive.

He tried shaking his head, to force the answers to release, but gave up as the action hurt. Was he in a hospital? He didn't feel right, whatever right might feel like. Instinctively, he knew this wasn't right. Further searching revealed an IV tube secured to his arm. He tugged it free. Clear liquid steadily dropped to the floor.

Pushing past the pain and weakness, he brought himself to the edge of the bed. He thoughtfully fingered the light blanket. His room was four solid, dark grey walls, and one brown steel door with a tiny security last window in the center. No pictures lined the walls. No chairs. A single sink sat lonely in the corner. Wherever he was, it didn't look like he received many visitors. And it seemed like he had been here for a while. Apparently the IV had been used to keep him alive and nourished.

Stealing himself, determined to find answers, he wobbled unsteadily to the shelf beside the stainless-steel sink, bracing himself along the wall for support. A dark green canvas duffel bag sat on top, and he brought it down. He pulled the zipper open, wincing at the loud noise in the stillness of the room.

Two black T-shirts, black sweatpants, socks, and a wallet. Opening the wallet, he felt a cold splash of disappointment. Inside was $2, a folded-over photo of a young smiling couple and an identification card expiring in 2014 belonging to Keegan Zachary London. It was the same guy as in the photo with a pretty brunette woman. It described him as 6 foot two, with dark brown hair, and brown eyes. There was an address listed for the state of Illinois.

Was he this London guy? Looking around, he found no mirror in the room. Was he even in Illinois? He touched his face, exploring the shape and contours. Was it him in the picture? He felt the moderate growth of a stubbly beard and a couple inches of hair growth. He traced his jawbone, nose, cheeks, and eyebrows. Nothing felt familiar. He needed to find out what was going on and he was positive that wasn't going to happen here. A pair of mud-stained boots sat under the sink and once he was dressed, he slipped them on. They fit well. At least they were these were his clothes everything fit. Was he Keegan Zachary London?

He tried the door. He wasn't surprised to find it locked, nor was he worried. He was a prisoner. He supposed he should be feeling a sense of panic, instead he was more curious to know who held him. Looking around he sought another means of escape. Looking up he studied the ceiling. In the corner was an air duct. With no chair to reach, it would be tricky, but he didn't hesitate. Feeling strength surging through him, he mentally measured the steps and moves required. He'd found his escape route.


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What makes your featured book a must-read?   


It’s history!


“September’s Song” was a problem child for me from the very start. The inspiration for this book came from a photo (aren’t many stories rooted in a picture? Mine tend to be.) A friend had emailed me a series of loosely connected pictures many years ago. There was one photo, showing the back view of a young boy offering a Styrofoam box to a man huddled against the cold. It appeared the man might be a homeless vet, and he seemed genuinely puzzled why the boy was offering him the box. For reasons unknown, that photo resonated with me, and I buried it in the back of my mind.


One of my hobbies is word find puzzles. Years later I was working a word-find puzzle themed Sinatra songs. There was one called “September Song”.  I remembered the photo of the boy and man and inspiration struck. The very rough bones of the story came to be, and I modified the name of the story to be “September’s Song”.


My research led me down so many rabbit holes, and much of what I learned I never used. I had about three original ideas of where I wanted the story to go, and what it should be. The characters would have not none of it. I would sit down to write, and it was like opening a gift each time; and never knowing what to expect. I just knew I wanted the two main protagonists, Ivey and Keegan London, to be on such emotional rollercoasters. Even before they meet again, they are emotionally challenged. Ivey is a single mom, dealing with so much it’s impossible not to feel sorry for her. Keegan was more of a challenge because he started with an amnesiac blank slate and had to build from there, discovery by discovery.


My plotter personality of writing went out the window. I followed no outline. I wrote, usually without having a clue where I was going. I ended up in so many corners. I was almost through writing the story before I even knew what genre to call it! Characters came and went, without much input from me. The one character I fell in love with—besides the hero! —was Father Patrick. Everyone needs a Father Patrick in their life! This guy is just incredible. It’s questionable whether Ivey and Keegan would not have achieved what they did without this wily priest.


It took about three years to finish the story that defied me at every stage. US Review of Books gave it a Silver Seal of Recommendation, InD’tale Magazine gave it a 4 ½ out of 5-star review and it was a finalist for the 2021 RONE award.


Like the problem child who frustrated their parents and end up graduating Valedictorian, I could not be prouder of how “September’s Song” turned out. I decided to self-publish it on my 48th birthday as a present to myself.


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.


Runs May 22 – May 28, 2024.


Winner will be drawn on May 29, 2024.


Author Biography: 


Ryan Jo Summers writes romances that blur the lines of subgenres. She mixes contemporary with time travel, Christian, suspense, sweet, and paranormal like blending a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Her non-fiction works have appeared in numerous trade journals and magazines including ‘WNC Woman Magazine’, ‘Critter Magazine’, ‘Journey Devotions’, and ‘Vet Tech Journal’. She was a regular contributing author for the ‘Asheville Pet Gazette’ for over ten years.


Her hobbies include baking, crafts, gardening, enjoying nature, and chess/mah-jongg/word-find puzzles. She owns a pet sitting- dog walking company and occasionally fosters homeless pets for area animal rescues.


She lives in a century-old cottage in North Carolina with her own menagerie of rescued pets and way too many houseplants. “September’s Song” is her second self-published work. Her first self-published novel was a blog-to-book chronicle of the first two years with her rescue PTSD collie.


She also has roughly two dozen small press published novels and novellas. Several have placed in writing contests, some have finaled for prizes like The Raven, The RONE, and placed in OCRW’s Book Buyers Best, CROW’s National Excellence in Story Telling, and The Southeast Writer’s Association contests.


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May 27

Thank you, Ryan Jo. for sharing your book in our Salute Military Bookish Event!

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