Sunday, March 28, 2010

SONS OF THUNDER by Susan May Warren

On occasion, we will feature books by other authors that we'd like to recommend. Here's some information about SONS OF THUNDER by Susan May Warren. Be sure to check out details for a special contest at the end of the post. . . .

Sophie Frangos is torn between the love of two men and the promise that binds them all together. Markos Stavros loves Sophie from afar while battling his thirst for vengeance and his hunger for honor. Dino, his quiet and intelligent brother, simply wants to forget the horror that drove them from their Greek island home to start a new life in America. One of these “sons of thunder” offers a future she longs for, the other—the past she lost.

From the sultry Chicago jazz clubs of the roaring twenties to the World War II battlefields of Europe to a final showdown in a Greek island village, they’ll discover betrayal, sacrifice, and finally redemption. Most of all, when Sophie is forced to make her choice, she’ll learn that God honors the promises made by the Sons of Thunder.

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: Connect with Susan on Facebook:  
Excerpt – Chapter 2:


By Susan May Warren

Sofia Frangos could save the world with her song. At
least Markos’s world, because that’s what always seemed
to occur whenever he happened upon her in time to
catch the harmonies issuing from her as she worked.
More of a humming than a song, really, and he
longed for the words, feeling they’d be plucked from
some garden inside her. Someday, perhaps.
Yes, he felt a voyeur, but he couldn’t stop the lure
of her voice. Probably, she knew her power—felt his
hypnotized presence, although her blue eyes never
appeared to notice him. Someday, he hoped, she would see the ruddy
fisherman’s son.

The sun spilled into the sea by the time Markos
moored his boat and retrieved his catch. He nodded to
the other fishermen repairing their nets along the wharf,
others simply smoking away the twilight.

“What is your catch?” Alexio Mizrahi, the Jewish
doctor, sat with his son-in-law as he worked his nets.

“Barbouni—for Theo’s wedding!” Markos lifted
the lid to the metal canister of fish, noticed the smiles of
older, more accomplished fishermen.
Surely, he’d earned his father’s toast at
tomorrow’s feast.

“Someday you will be a fisherman such as your
father, Markos.”

He let Alexio’s words buoy his step, despite the
late hour.

Sofia’s song lured him as she stood, elbow deep in
flour, kneading the dough for tomorrow’s wedding
bread. Her dark hair whisked back into a lanyard, tiny
unheeded curls dripped around her face. For a moment, he imagined that he wasn’t the son of a fisherman, wasn’t marked with the scratches from
squid barbs, his hands hoofed from tying the nets, his
face darkened with the fury of the sun. No, he fancied
himself a merchant, a man of means, who might be
worthy of such a girl as Sofia.

Not that his mother would agree. After all, Sofia
was little more than an orphan, thanks to the Turks,
who’d felled her father on the shores of Sangarios, and to
illness, which took her mother during those dark years.
No family, no dowry, no koumbaro to stand beside her
groom as a witness. Only her aging grandfather—and
not even a real relation at that, being that he’d taken in
her father when he was a child—to claim her. The village
of Zante had predestined Sofia, even at fourteen, as their
next midwife, or perhaps a taverna keeper.

Sofia’s graceful fingers began to roll the dough
into a long strip, ready to braid, to form the decorative
flowers and stars. She’d already worked the aniseed,
coriander, and fennel into the speckled dough. The
piquant smells of roasting lamb, fresh onions, tomatoes,
and baked figs awakened an animal in Markos’s
stomach. He sucked in his breath, willing himself
invisible as he stood in his mother’s taverna, the metal
canister of barbouni slung over his shoulder, dripping
seawater onto the stone floor—

“Markos, where have you been?”

He jerked, stepped back from the doorway,
rounding as his mother, her black skirt gathered, stepped
up from the portico of the taverna. Behind her, the
wooden tables were arrayed in a sort of semi-circle,
appropriate for the dance floor. Today, this moment, Ava
Stavros appeared every bit the mother of the groom, lines
of tradition worked into her brow, her long dark hair
caught back in a black scarf, an apron around her sturdy
form. She knew the sea, her men, and how to build a
home on the golden sands. “I expected you hours ago.”

“We got caught in the doldrums, Mama. I’m sorry.
But I caught your barbouni.” He slung the keg off his
shoulder and plunked it down at her feet. The water
dribbled from the holes, seawater darkening the white

“That’s my Markos.” She caught his face in her
hands, pressed a kiss to each cheek. “Just like your father.
You are destined to be the best fisherman in the family.”
She opened the lid. The red-hooded fishes lay, some still
flopping, in a sleek pile. “Brava! Carry it to the kitchen—
Sofia will scale them.”

Sofia barely looked up as he carried in the catch.
The heat of the wood-fired ovens ripened his sea-dog
odor, and he tried not to get too close as he set the kettle
down near the table, wincing at his own oafish presence.
She moved to open the lid, and he knocked her as
he stood up. “Oh!” She held her nose, turning away.

“Are you okay?” He only made out her blue eyes watering as she
nodded. “I’m sorry!”

She turned, shaking her head. “No, it’s my fault.”
She offered him the smile that could sweep thoughts
from his head. Indeed, he stood there like a fool, drinking
in her eyes, the way the sun had tinted her nose, the
beautiful sweep of her lips. And, as if he might already
be inside his wildest dreams, she moved forward.
“Actually, I need to talk to you. My grandfather is—”

“Out of my taverna, Markos.” His mother
lumbered into the kitchen.

Sofia cut off her words, turned away.
Mama shot her a dark look then turned to Markos.
“This is not your place. Go—find your brothers. I’m sure
Theo needs an airing out after last night’s performance.”
She winked at him, grabbing up a towel and a knife.
But Markos’s mind hung on Sofia’s sentence—Her
grandfather is…? Giving her hand away in marriage?
Dying? Markos longed to scoop the words from her,
hating how urgent they’d suddenly become.

But Sofia had already resumed her humming.
He chased his ego out, not looking back.


Buy the book here:

Enter Susan’s Memory Prize Pack contest:
Each one of us has a wealth of stories from the past – while they might not all be as sweeping and dramatic as that of Sofia and the Stravos brothers (swoon), your family history is a treasure nonetheless. 
Well – let’s hear them! Were your great-grandparents ‘fresh off the boat’? Was your great uncle a war hero? Did your grandmother make unbelievable sacrifices to help or protect the family? Did your father harbor a family secret until his death? Are you related to someone famous (my assistant is related to presidents Harrison and Jackson – wow! Who knew?) Do you have a family treasure? Maybe you just have some lovely memories. Whatever it is that is unique in your family history – share it with us. 

Have a photo to go with your story? Even better!!!! Email those to 
One grand prize winner will win a Memory Prize package containing a gift certificate to create your own hard cover photo book, a 6 month membership to Netflix (to satisfy that flick fix!) and a signed copy of Sons of Thunder! 5 runners up will also win signed copies of Sons of Thunder! Contest ends March 31st. Winners will be announced April 2nd.



Trinity Rose said...

I just won this wonderful book from another blog and I'm really excited. Thanks for doing this Steve. I look forward to more things like this in the future.
Trinity Rose

Stephen Bly said...

Hi, there, Trinity Rose: Thanks for the note. Let us know here and on Bly fans group how you like this new book. Sounds like a great story.
On the trail,

csthankful said...

This does sound like a great story that would keep me rivited all the way through. Love a gerat story. Thanks for giving us a bird's eye view Steve.