I’m in the mood for fall. I’m in the mood for ripe apples from Ozark orchards, and changing leaves. I’m looking forward to the vibrant crimsons, oranges, yellows and gold leaves as the trees change their hues for the season.

I'm working on a new novel at present but my backlist includes several novels where fall is vital to the story.

One of these, Ryker’s Justice, begins with autumn in the Ozarks. Here’s a little snippet to bring a hint of fall to our seasons as we await the real thing:

In his natural element, Jude moved over the fallen autumn leaves with stealth, so quiet that his feet made little sound. The woods enveloped him as he blended with his surroundings. He belonged here and he knew it. Growing up as the youngest of the half wild Ryker clan, he’d spent many childhood hours beneath these trees. Jude knew where the deer grazed beneath the full moon, where the sweetest wild grapes grew, and how to track almost any forest creature with success. He’d hunted here, slept on this ground, and sought solace from nature as long as he could remember. This forest nurtured his spirit and often sustained his body when the cupboards at home were bare. When he left to join the Navy, he had grieved at losing this patch of woods almost as much as he regretted leaving his family behind.

Another is a fast-paced romantic suspense tale set in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s a sweet romance - meaning there’s no graphic sex or bad language. That one is called Gray’s Good Samaritan and here, just to be fair, is a snippet from the opening chapter:

On a morning as ordinary as faded blue jeans, no different from dozens of other Saturdays, everything changed. As she slowed for a traffic signal behind a long string of vehicles, Robin spotted the man. Whoever he was, he ran at furious speed, racing across the open spaces between the electric substations as if his life might be in peril. Robin couldn’t imagine anything else powerful enough to inspire anyone to run so fast, so hard. Curious, she kept an eye on him to see where he went as she came to a stop at the highway interchange. Already ten minutes late for her hair appointment, midway through her weekly errands, she craned her head backward and over the dirty laundry stacked in the back seat. Just as the light went green, the runner changed course. His diagonal path would take him in front of her car so she hesitated, a car length behind the other vehicles, afraid she might hit him. At the last moment, he veered, switched course, and snatched open the passenger door. He climbed inside before she could scream or protest and spat out two words: “Hit it!”

Maybe those will interest some of you and maybe not. But in each, my appreciation for autumn shines thorough the fiction. Autumn is almost here and I’m glad to welcome it into the Ozarks.

-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is the community editor for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser. She is also an author and freelance writer.