Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cathy West's Yesterday's Tomorrow

Educated in Bermuda, England and Canada, Catherine holds a degree in English from the University of Toronto. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. Catherine and her husband live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, with their two college-aged children. Catherine is a member of Romance Writers of America, and American Christian Fiction Writers, and is a founding member of International Christian Fiction Writers. Catherine’s debut novel Yesterday’s Tomorrow, released in 2011, through Oak Tara Publishers.

Website: www.CatherineJWest.com
Oak Tara Website: www.OakTara.com
Facebook and Twitter: @cathwest


Yesterday's Tomorrow

It’s 1967 and Kristin Taylor wants to go to Vietnam to report on the war, and honor her father’s memory by becoming an award-winning journalist like he was. But no editor will send her. So she strikes out on her own and steps into a world more terrifying than she’d imagined.

As she encounters the horrors of war, Kristin struggles to report the truth while desperately trying to keep tabs on her only brother who enlisted some time ago, but both tasks seem impossible.

When she meets photographer Luke Maddox, Kristin knows she’s found a story. The mystery beneath his brooding eyes triggers her curiosity. She’s convinced he’s hiding something and determines to discover his secrets. The only trouble is, he won’t let her within three feet of him.

In an unexpected twist, Kristin and Luke are forced to work together. With war raging all around them, they engage in their own tumultuous battle of emotions. Headstrong and willing to risk it all for what they believe in, they’ll do whatever it takes to fulfill their own private agendas. Kristin is after a story that might get her the Pulitzer. Luke wants retribution from the enemy that took away his family. In the face of death, Kristin and Luke must decide if they’re willing to set aside selfish ambition for the love that seems to have ambushed them and captured their hearts.

Here's an excerpt of Yesterday's Tomorrow:

Chapter One
February 1967, Saigon, Vietnam.

Kristin shuffled along in the line of travel-weary passengers as they exited the plane. She blinked as her eyes adjusted to the daylight, shook off sleep and gripped the handrail of the metal steps. When her shoes hit the tarmac of Tan Son Nhut airport, her hand went to the intricately carved cross that hung around her neck. She rubbed the thick gold between her thumb and forefinger and took in her surroundings.

The early morning sun’s rays jack-knifed off the tarred surface. A stifling heat sliced through her sneakers, raced through her and smothered her in its welcoming embrace.

Teddy was right. It was hotter than hell.

The pungent smell of gasoline flooded her senses and stung her eyes. Kristin pulled on dark sunglasses, tried not to breathe too deeply and looked down the runway. She stepped aside to let others pass as she surveyed the area, the slow thumping of her heart picking up its pace as she began taking mental notes.

Aircraft of varying description lined the blacktop. Everything seemed larger in real life, from helicopters to small fighter jets to the Pan American Boeing 707 that had brought her here. Gray, green and brown flying machines blended together in an impressive show of US military power.

It was impossible to imagine jumping aboard any of them. Or jumping out.

Army personnel moved smoothly around the aircrafts, refueling and working on engines. Rows of enlisted men lined up to board a larger plane also being loaded with cargo. Soldiers sweating in the heat heaved supplies on to the plane’s cave-like interior. Commanding Officers barked like dogs to be heard over the noise as they rounded up their companies. She scanned the groups of soldiers and searched their faces. Some looked anxious, their eyes shifty even as their bodies remained stiff, while others seemed impassive, stone-faced and resolute as they stood between the world they knew and a world gone crazy.

During a lull in the activity on the tarmac, a low rumbling somewhere off in the distance reached her ears. Her throat tightened as she turned toward the outline of mountains beyond the airstrip.

The sound of war needed no introduction.

Kristin caught up with the rest of the arrivals and moved along through Immigration, then pushed through the crowded airport to retrieve her bag. Vietnamese men and women dressed in colorful pajama-like clothing darted in and out of the maze of olive-green and khaki uniforms. Strong scents of heady perfume, spicy tobacco and rancid body odor made a tactile assault on her already queasy stomach.

Her eyes tracked the Vietnamese signage while her ears captured the quickly spoken foreign tongue on every side of her. Relief cheered her on as she spied the doors that led out of the airport. She put her passport back into the green canvas knapsack on her shoulder and headed for the exit. Her eyes began to water as her body revolted against her present surroundings. She didn’t have a clue what lay beyond those doors, but she needed air.

The four journalists she met on the flight stood outside on the pavement and she nodded their way. They’d been in Hong Kong for R&R and had been quite happy to chat with her. Their stories fascinated her. Scared her a little, although she wouldn’t admit it. The Frenchman’s tales seemed a bit too dramatic. He wore a teasing look the whole time. Caroline, the only female in the group, hailed from England. She worked for a small newspaper that Kristin had never heard of.

Kristin confessed she wasn’t working for anyone. Yet. This didn’t seem to bother them and they gave her plenty of tips on how to find work.

“Ah, Kristin, chèrie.” There was an odd comfort at the sound of her name being called in the midst of this foreign chaos. The Frenchman, Jean Luc, lumbered over, carrying two large cases. “Have you got your stuff?”

“This is it.” She tugged on a beat-up brown duffel bag. It weighed a ton thanks to her typewriter. But she refused to leave that baby at home. Sweat formed on her brow and a drop rolled down the side of her face.

“You have got a place to stay, oui?”

Kristin swiped sweat out of her eyes. “No, actually, I don’t.” This adventure was slowly inching out of her control. “It’s okay. I’ll find a place.”

Jean Luc took a step back and hissed out air. “Oy.” His suitcases hit the ground with a thud and he ran a hand through his slick black shoulder-length hair. A sudden image of him tooling around Provence on a Peugeot made her smile. “Let me talk to my friend.” He put two fingers in his mouth and let out a shrill whistle aimed at the group gathered on the far side of the terminal building. “Caroline, sweetie, a minute please…”

The English girl looked their way. Jean Luc pulled a faded red bandana from the chest pocket of his Safari shirt and wiped his brow as he pointed a finger at Kristin. “You don’t move, oui?”

“Oui.” Not moving sounded pretty good.

He met Caroline halfway and they engaged in a lively debate. She was fluent in French apparently, hand motions and all. Kristin let her bag slide off her shoulder and positioned herself on the top of one of Jean Luc’s large leather cases. Maybe quitting her job at The Daily and hopping a plane to Vietnam wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done. But, despite the sheer exhaustion and more than a little trepidation tailing her, it was arguably the most exciting.

Kristin glanced at her watch and calculated the time back in Boston.

Mom would be pacing the living room, holding the letter Kristin left for her or ripping it up. Either way, the next time they saw each other would not be cool.

The worst of it was that her mother actually agreed with Kristin’s chauvinist pig of an editor. Former editor.

Vietnam was no place for a woman.

And then she’d pulled the old religious guilt trip. Had Kristin prayed about it? How did she know it was God’s will for her to go to halfway around the world, into a war zone no less?

What a joke. God didn’t care one way or another. She’d stopped consulting him a long time ago—the day they got the news that Dad had been killed in Vietnam.

Kristin pulled her hair into a ponytail, sweat stinging her eyes. She longed for a cold drink and a few hours of uninterrupted sleep, but refused to allow her mind to go there. She needed a plan, a way to get out beyond the city and do what she’d come here to do. Report on the war. Find the truth, whatever it was.

And tell it to anyone who would listen.


You can purchase Yesterday's Tomorrow from Amazon.

Cathy is giving away a copy of Yesterday's Tomorrow. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.



13 comments:

Marianne said...

Thanks, Patty for the post. and thanks to both you and Catherine for the chance to win Yesterday's Tomorrow. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com
from Arizona

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, does this sound good! Please enter me.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a good book!
Sunny

Linda said...

Since my hubby served in Nam, I would love to win this one. Sounds great! Please enter me.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Meredith said...

Sounds good! Great excerpt!

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Pam K. said...

I'm not familiar with Catherine West's books but "Yesterday's Tomorrow" sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. Thanks for the excerpt. I liked the photo of Catherine and her border collie; it made me miss the border collie we used to have.
Please enter me in the book give away. Thanks.

pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

Charlotte Kay said...

Yet another new author for me!
I would love to win this book!
Thanks for the chance!
Many Blessings and Smiles:)
Charlotte Kay
charlovesmark at gmail dot com

windycindy said...

The period of the Vietnam War was such a turbulent, societal changing
time! Please enter me in this book drawing...
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Catherine West said...

Thanks for the interest everyone! Be sure to check out my website and I have an Author Page on Facebook. If you send me a pic of you with a copy of Yesterday's Tomorrow, I'll be sure to post it in my Reader's Gallery!

lgm52 said...

Sounds great...would love to win this!
lgm52@hotmail.com

karenk said...

please count me...thanks

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Courtney said...

Sounds like a very interesting book!! Thanks for the chance to win it!

kcmelone[at]yahoo[dot]com

rose mccauley said...

Sounds great! Please enter me in the drawing! rose mccauley

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