Ashes in the Snow


Hiking in the Montana mountains, Veronica and Sam are caught in a rock slide. Sam is badly injured, Veronica has a broken arm, and after two days, short on food and water, they are desperate. A former pro football player named John hears rifle shots fired by Veronica and comes to their rescue. He carries Sam on his back and gets him to a hospital. With her broken arm, Veronica cannot to drive back to Chicago. After two days with John in Montana and two more days on the road, she falls in love with the handsome athlete. Recovering from the pain of his wife’s death, John is open to romance. Veronica welcomes his advances, and their love affair blossoms. John and Veronica find themselves on a path to happiness. Veronica extricates herself from her unhappy relationship with Sam as she and John grow closer. Then a specter from John's past threatens to undermine their relationship. They struggle to sort out their feelings as the Montana mountains await their return.


Veronica. Lost, frightened, divorced, with hidden beauty waiting to be awakened.
John. A gentle giant, strong, kind , lonely and ready for romance.
Sam. Shallow, sad, unable to appreciate beauty when it is right before his eyes.
Raymond. Veronica's son. Young, skeptical, confused but hopeful for better things.
Clay. John's friend, former football star, radio show host, and sympathetic observer.
Jim, Cindy, Maggie and Debbie. Veronica's extended family.

About Ashes in the Snow: How did it come about?

“Ashes in the Snow” evoled from a previous novel, “All That Joy Can Give.” In that novel the hero, Jack McMahon, goes to graduate school for his doctorate in English on his way to becoming a professor. For the masters portion of the program, he writes a novel for his MA thesis. I wrote a one-paragraph description of Jack's thesis, and after thinking about it, I realized that it was a pretty good idea for a story, so I wrote it. Here is the paragraph from the other novel:

Jack’s novel was called “Ashes in the Snow.” Description rom the novel: It was about a man who worked as a forester in the mountains of Pennsylvania. He helped a couple who were camping and got into trouble when the man slipped while crossing a stream and broke his ankle. He had to carry the man out of the forest to a place where he could be picked up in a vehicle, and he and the man’s wife began what became a complicated relationship. The novel had to do with friendship, loneliness, betrayal, confrontation and reconciliation. When the couple broke up, the wife wanted to go camping during the winter. They resolved their problems while sitting in front of a campfire while the snow fell around them. Ashes in the snow.

I made some changes—it was set in Montana, not Pennsylvania, and John was not a forester—he was just a former football star who liked to hike in the mountains with his dog. Other than that, the basic plot idea was the same. Why did idea appeal to me—who knows? But there it is.

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