Kept Tears

on Jan 23, 2014 by Jana Denardo

I always knew I would write a book like Kept Tears, or at the very least one with a disabled veteran. Many moons ago, I had planned to pay for medical school by going into the military. Most of my family was military in WWII and Viet Nam era service. I wanted to be Air Force. Things didn’t quite work out that way. However, in medical school and in my residency, I did work at several Veteran Administration hospitals and clinics across the country. I loved working with the veterans. In the latest twist my life has taken, I’m still very active with working with veterans on campus and with our local V.A..

While I wanted to do a story about a returning veteran and about some of the challenges they face, I also knew I wanted it to have a hopeful theme. I don’t remember when I saw the DEKA “Luke” arm in a video, but I knew this was what I wanted to us. In the novel, it’s more of a generalized prosthetic arm because just in the time period it took to write this and get it to production, the Luke Arm sort of myoelectric prosthesis has made leaps and bounds, and I didn’t want it tied too closely to one type. Arms, however, were on the opposite side of the body than what I had made my practice, so I had a lot of studying up to do. This was harder than I thought, since these arms are still mostly in limited use experimental stages and the information is held close. Hopefully, between video links and Ohiolink’s professional journals, I’ve done a passable job with it, and any mistakes are my own. Also, if you’re interested in the Luke Arm, there are videos on Youtube. It’s fascinating stuff.

Enter Aaron Santori.  He was medical school bound on the Army’s dime, but long before that happened, he got called up as a Medic in the Middle East (a fate several in my medical school shared during Desert Storm). There he lost his left arm, and suffered damage and burns to his leg. The story opens a few years down the road, with Aaron back in grad school, this time dealing with the very type of prosthesis he wears. The myoelectric prosthesis is actually functional, and Aaron is still learning to use it. He’s still under psychiatric care to help deal with his loss and his PTSD, and is active with the Wounded Warrior project. Part of my goal with this novel was to highlight some very important veterans’ services, like the Wounded Warrior project. For all the magic and other realms to be found in this novel, I wanted Aaron’s life to be very real.

Aaron didn’t go to the steampunk party expecting to meet anyone, and he’s rather ill-prepared for dating Rhys. Aaron must deal with his fears of rejection over his damaged body and how self-conscious he is about his prosthetic arm. It is a path I have witnessed veteran patients and students walk, and I hope I have done it justice.

Thanks to Michael for having me over on his blog. I appreciate it.

Kept Tears

Having left most of his arm and his self-confidence behind in the Afghanistan desert, young veteran Aaron Santori has enough on his plate learning to use his prosthetic arm. Attending graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh makes life both interesting and challenging. Mentally, he’s ill prepared for meeting Rhys Edwards, a young-adult novelist from Wales and everything Aaron could want in a man. Between the scars from the explosion and his PTSD, he’s reluctant to date. Ready or not, though, Aaron finds himself jumping into the deep end of the relationship waters.

What Aaron couldn’t possibly know is that Rhys isn’t human at all. As a prince of the Tylwyth Teg, Rhys is fae, with a list of enemies he’s accumulated over the past few centuries—among them a former lover, Morcant, who is back to make Rhys’s life miserable. An unwitting pawn in their Machiavellian fae politics, Aaron only knows he’s falling in love, never suspecting love might be his death sentence.

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Excerpt

“I just got into town a few months ago. I’m a novelist and I’m scouting out the area to write about.” Rhys picked up his martini glass. 

“Oh? Anything I might have read?”

“I don’t know. What do you like to read?” As he sipped his drink, Rhys studied Aaron with his deep-blue eyes.

Aaron wrinkled his nose. “That was dumb of me. Mostly, I like fantasy, science fiction, and mystery.”

“Then, maybe. I’ve written a young adult series about the fae.” Rhys’s eyes went distant, a strange, introspective expression replacing the more animated one. Aaron wondered if he had somehow hit on a raw nerve, though he couldn’t imagine how. “Too bad there was a need to put in a romantic subplot for the teens.”

“Well, it is young adult. I think that’s expected.”

Rhys gave another nod, smiling wryly in agreement. “I write under the name S.G. Evans.”

“I think I’ve read one of those. It’s about the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, right?”

“That’s them.” Rhys took a drink of his martini. “Your turn.”

“Grad student at Pitt. I’m studying physiology. I wanted to be a doctor, went to the Army to pay for it, and ended up a medic. Things went sideways from there.” Aaron gestured with his prosthetic hand and Rhys’s blue eyes widened. “Ah, you didn’t expect it to move.” Aaron grinned.

Rhys studied the transhumeral prosthesis Aaron sported, obviously amazed, awe in every word. “No, I did not.”

“I’m in a program working with myoelectrics, and this arm is part of it.” Aaron moved his fingers.

“How does it work?” Rhys leaned closer.

Aaron didn’t mind bragging about his arm. “There are electrodes under my skin that talk to the arm. I think about moving the arm, and it moves. I’m still learning all the intricacies. I’m working on the physiology aspect as part of my doctoral work.” He couldn’t contain his excitement as he explained, his mechanical fingers clenching and unfurling as he showed off.

“That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” Rhys reached over and touched the prosthetic hand.

Aaron wiggled his thumb. “Isn’t it?”

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About Jana Denardo

Jana Denardo’s career choices and wanderlust take her all over the United States and beyond. Much of her travels make their way into her stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and mystery have been her favorite genres since she started reading, and they often flavor her works. In her secret identity, she works with the science of life and gives college students nightmares. When she’s not chained to her computer writing, she functions as stray cat magnet.

Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.

I always knew I would write a book like Kept Tears, or at the very least one with a disabled veteran. Many moons ago, I had planned to pay for medical school by going into the military. Most of my family was military in WWII and Viet Nam era service. I wanted to be Air Force. Things didn’t quite work out that way. However, in medical school and in my residency, I did work at several Veteran Administration hospitals and clinics across the country. I loved working with the veterans. In the latest twist my life has taken, I’m still very active with working with veterans on campus and with our local V.A..

While I wanted to do a story about a returning veteran and about some of the challenges they face, I also knew I wanted it to have a hopeful theme. I don’t remember when I saw the DEKA “Luke” arm in a video, but I knew this was what I wanted to us. In the novel, it’s more of a generalized prosthetic arm because just in the time period it took to write this and get it to production, the Luke Arm sort of myoelectric prosthesis has made leaps and bounds, and I didn’t want it tied too closely to one type. Arms, however, were on the opposite side of the body than what I had made my practice, so I had a lot of studying up to do. This was harder than I thought, since these arms are still mostly in limited use experimental stages and the information is held close. Hopefully, between video links and Ohiolink’s professional journals, I’ve done a passable job with it, and any mistakes are my own. Also, if you’re interested in the Luke Arm, there are videos on Youtube. It’s fascinating stuff.

Enter Aaron Santori.  He was medical school bound on the Army’s dime, but long before that happened, he got called up as a Medic in the Middle East (a fate several in my medical school shared during Desert Storm). There he lost his left arm, and suffered damage and burns to his leg. The story opens a few years down the road, with Aaron back in grad school, this time dealing with the very type of prosthesis he wears. The myoelectric prosthesis is actually functional, and Aaron is still learning to use it. He’s still under psychiatric care to help deal with his loss and his PTSD, and is active with the Wounded Warrior project. Part of my goal with this novel was to highlight some very important veterans’ services, like the Wounded Warrior project. For all the magic and other realms to be found in this novel, I wanted Aaron’s life to be very real.

Aaron didn’t go to the steampunk party expecting to meet anyone, and he’s rather ill-prepared for dating Rhys. Aaron must deal with his fears of rejection over his damaged body and how self-conscious he is about his prosthetic arm. It is a path I have witnessed veteran patients and students walk, and I hope I have done it justice.

Thanks to Michael for having me over on his blog. I appreciate it.


Kept Tears

Having left most of his arm and his self-confidence behind in the Afghanistan desert, young veteran Aaron Santori has enough on his plate learning to use his prosthetic arm. Attending graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh makes life both interesting and challenging. Mentally, he’s ill prepared for meeting Rhys Edwards, a young-adult novelist from Wales and everything Aaron could want in a man. Between the scars from the explosion and his PTSD, he’s reluctant to date. Ready or not, though, Aaron finds himself jumping into the deep end of the relationship waters.

What Aaron couldn’t possibly know is that Rhys isn’t human at all. As a prince of the Tylwyth Teg, Rhys is fae, with a list of enemies he’s accumulated over the past few centuries—among them a former lover, Morcant, who is back to make Rhys’s life miserable. An unwitting pawn in their Machiavellian fae politics, Aaron only knows he’s falling in love, never suspecting love might be his death sentence.


Excerpt from Kept Tears:

“I just got into town a few months ago. I’m a novelist and I’m scouting out the area to write about.” Rhys picked up his martini glass. 

“Oh? Anything I might have read?”

“I don’t know. What do you like to read?” As he sipped his drink, Rhys studied Aaron with his deep-blue eyes.

Aaron wrinkled his nose. “That was dumb of me. Mostly, I like fantasy, science fiction, and mystery.”

“Then, maybe. I’ve written a young adult series about the fae.” Rhys’s eyes went distant, a strange, introspective expression replacing the more animated one. Aaron wondered if he had somehow hit on a raw nerve, though he couldn’t imagine how. “Too bad there was a need to put in a romantic subplot for the teens.”

“Well, it is young adult. I think that’s expected.”

Rhys gave another nod, smiling wryly in agreement. “I write under the name S.G. Evans.”

“I think I’ve read one of those. It’s about the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, right?”

“That’s them.” Rhys took a drink of his martini. “Your turn.”

“Grad student at Pitt. I’m studying physiology. I wanted to be a doctor, went to the Army to pay for it, and ended up a medic. Things went sideways from there.” Aaron gestured with his prosthetic hand and Rhys’s blue eyes widened. “Ah, you didn’t expect it to move.” Aaron grinned.

Rhys studied the transhumeral prosthesis Aaron sported, obviously amazed, awe in every word. “No, I did not.”

“I’m in a program working with myoelectrics, and this arm is part of it.” Aaron moved his fingers.

“How does it work?” Rhys leaned closer.

Aaron didn’t mind bragging about his arm. “There are electrodes under my skin that talk to the arm. I think about moving the arm, and it moves. I’m still learning all the intricacies. I’m working on the physiology aspect as part of my doctoral work.” He couldn’t contain his excitement as he explained, his mechanical fingers clenching and unfurling as he showed off.

“That is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” Rhys reached over and touched the prosthetic hand.

Aaron wiggled his thumb. “Isn’t it?”

Copyright © 2014 Jana Denardo. All rights reserved.


Find Kept Tears:


About Jana Denardo

Jana Denardo’s career choices and wanderlust take her all over the United States and beyond. Much of her travels make their way into her stories. Fantasy, science fiction, and mystery have been her favorite genres since she started reading, and they often flavor her works. In her secret identity, she works with the science of life and gives college students nightmares. When she’s not chained to her computer writing, she functions as stray cat magnet.

Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.


Find Jana Denardo:


1 Comment

  1. SJS says:

    Good luck with your book!

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