Sunday, November 27, 2011

Welcome Gail Branan


Hey, y’all!  You know, I never knew how much I sounded like Paula Deen until Karen invited me over to her Chaise Lounge!  Bet y’all think we exaggerate and do it on purpose, huh?  Not.  There’s not a Southerner alive whose first words upon greeting friends aren’t “Hey, y’all!”
I’m Southern to the core, you know.  (Com’on, now, in unison – duh!)  Not a lot of evidence of that in my first to be published book, believe it or not – sort of hard to impose Southern over a parallel fantasy world that’s a cross between Camelot and the glory days of Rome when her boundaries reached to the British Isles.   I had more downright fun writing Miami Days & Truscan (K)nights than I’ve ever had writing anything to date, though I’m working on an urban fantasy now that’s been just as much fun.  But my second to be published book?  Get ready, folks.  Welcome to my world.  My real world.  The world of Flowers on the Fence.  The world that holds my heart.  The world of Down Home.
I always like to know the story behind the story and thought maybe y’all would, too.  The story behind Down Home?  Where did Turkey Creek, Rockland County, Georgia come from?  What inspired the characters of Billy Brayton and Maggie Kincaid?  Jack “T-Bone” Jones?  Deputy Sheriff Alec Wimberly?  Big John, Aunt Lulu , Junie Bug, Leola, Joyce, and Jake?   I know the places of Down Home because I live there.  I know the characters of Down Home because I’m part of them and they are part of me.  Oh, they’re not real characters, of course.  Not really.  They’re bits and pieces of here and there, now and then, this and that, mixed and mingled to produce the other. 
Nor are the locations real.  Exactly.  Every small town, southern or not, are microcosms of society, a miniature little world wherein everybody knows everybody else’s business, heritage, secrets, what they had for supper, their usual bedtime.  It’s a patchwork quilt, sewn together into a sturdy fabric, stitched by the sturdy thread of familiarity. 
In that world, everybody knows that Maggie Kincaid hasn’t spoken to her father in twenty-five years, not since she buried Billy Brayton, killed in basic training after trumped up charges of armed robbery engineered by Big John Kincaid railroaded him out of town and into the army.  Everybody’d known something like that was coming because everybody’d known Big John wasn’t going to put up with his daughter keeping time with the local bad boy, not for long.  They figured Maggie and Billy should have known that, too.  But everybody’s missing a few pieces of the puzzle. They’re about to find out that the reports of Billy Brayton’s death have been greatly exaggerated.  He’s home.  And it’s payback time.  Sometimes you can go home again.
I hope y’all come to visit in September when Down Home is officially birthed.  And when you do, I hope you enjoy Billy’s journey back home.  It was a real long one, you see.  It made its first faint murmurs some fifteen years or so ago, and finally surged forth, more or less full-grown, when my son-in-law, a K-9 Deputy Sheriff for my home county, told me a story.  And the story he told me provided the coalescing center, the “missing link”, if you will, that produced the full novel roughly nine months later.  Some cosmic justice in that, don’t you think?  The nine months?  When fully birthed, Down Home’s dedication will read:  “To my son-in-law, Sgt. Jason Smith, K-9 officer, Cobra Crime Suppression Unit, and his fellow deputies of the Twiggs County Sheriff’s Department.  Thanks for the first glimmer of the idea, Twiggs 19!”  (I also picked his brain unmercifully throughout the writing of this novel, for a number of subjects, though any errors made are mine alone and certainly not his.  Oh, yeah.  He earned that dedication.  Big-time.) 
If you’ve got just another minute to try this (unedited) excerpt, I’d really be honored if you’d come see if you think you’ll like it.  Pretty please?
Unedited Excerpt:  Down Home, coming from MuseItUp Publishing, September 2012
The squeal of spinning tires and flying gravel split the night. The patrol cruiser careened down the driveway of the old church, the driver’s terrified eyes never leaving the road in front of him. If he looked in the rear-view mirror he might still see the silhouette of the little girl with banana curls, backlit in windows that should be dark. He could still hear the pounding notes of organ music, though he wasn’t sure if it was real or just echoes trapped in his head.

Brakes screeched as he slowed enough to negotiate a wide turn onto Highway 96. Back on the asphalt he could pretend it had never happened. His hands, still shaking on the wheel, didn’t believe him. He checked the speedometer and eased off the gas. For a moment his foot, lead on the pedal, wouldn’t obey. He wasn’t in shock, but he wasn’t in good shape, either. He reached to his shoulder to hit the send button on his radio phone.

“Rockland 19, back on patrol from property check at Clayton Chapel.”

“10-4 Rockland 19.” Aileen Sanders, the dispatcher on duty, paused and asked, “You okay, 19? You sound kinda funny.”

“Fine. 19 out.” Alec Wimberly felt his heart rate begin to slow. I didn’t see anything. I didn’t see anything, I didn’t hear anything, and I’m never gonna see it again. Because I ain’t goin’ back there alone. Ever.

* * * *
On the other side of the County off Highway 80, a hand reached for a ringing phone at 2:00 a.m. The voice that answered was as strong and steady as the hand despite both being over 70 years old. It held no hint of drowsiness, no sign that it had roused immediately and completely from the depths of dream sleep, a rare talent that the owner of that voice treasured. It conveyed the impression that he never slept; that in fact, he had no need of sleep, that he was always cognizant of all that transpired in his domain. It elevated him above the ranks of ordinary men, an intrinsic component of the mystique he carefully cultivated, invaluable in perpetuating the legend of power that surrounded him.

“Tonight’s delivery’s made. It’s done.”

“Went all right? No problems?”
“No problems.” The slight hesitation that preceded the short sentence might as well have been a drum roll.

“What went wrong?”

Damn. The caller mentally cringed. Should have known better.

“Nothing really went wrong. Somebody unexpected showed up, didn’t see anything, though.”

“Who?”

“One of the deputies. Out on night patrol. Ran like a scared rabbit, no big deal.”

“You better hope so. What the hell happened? We’re supposed to know the schedules.”

“We do. Mostly. Can’t always call it down to the minute.”

“’Sposed to be able to. What else we spend the money for, for God’s sakes?”

“There was no problem,” the caller reiterated. “He didn’t see anything.”

“You know which deputy?”

“Yeah.”

“Well?”

“Well, what?” The caller was pushing his luck and he knew it, but he had a soft spot for all the young Rockland deputies.

“Who – the – Hell – was – it and don’t you ever make me ask you something twice.”

“Alec Wimberly.”

“Not one of ours. Could he be, though?”

“Well…. I don’t know, sir.”

“Keep an eye on him.”

“Yes, sir.”

A dial tone sounded in the caller’s ear and he sighed in relief as he hung up the phone. Damn, he hated being on the Boss Man’s bad side. He wasn’t that fond of being on the Boss Man’s good side, either. Had to be an easier way to make a living. Well, hell, he knew there was. Just not this good a living.

 Gail Roughton Branan
Miami Days & Truscan (K)nights, Fantasy Romance.  April, 2012
Down Home, Crime Thriller.  September, 2012
http://flowersonthefence.blogspot.com

11 comments:

lionmother said...

Gail, great guest spot and Ginger you have great taste! I can't wait to read Down Home, because it looks like there is a mystery here that is complicated. Your southern charm is all over this post, darlin' !!!

Lin said...

Gail, I don't know how you manage to make crime and terror seem mannerly, but you do. Is it your Southern charm? Not sure, but I do know it is intriguing. I am one who shies away from the darker side of fiction in my reading and movie watching, but you have a way of presenting your stories that makes me crave them almost the same way I crave the homemade apple sauce my grandmother made every fall when I was a girl. How you can make terror seem so delicious is why you will leave all of us cringing on the edges of our seats while begging for more.

Ginger, Sweet Lady, you always bring us the best. Love You Both.

gail roughton branan said...

HEY GUYS! It's almost 1:00 and the first chance I've had to stop in! Down Home's very special to me, I hope that comes through! So glad two of my most special folks stopped in at another special lady's great blog! Thanks for having me, Ging! Love!

Roseanne Dowell said...

Got here a bit late, but WOW that is definitely something I WANT to read. Love the way you speak, darlin. I know you just from reading your words. Can't wait to meet you in person, and I know it'll happen one day.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Got here a bit late, but WOW that is definitely something I WANT to read. Love the way you speak, darlin. I know you just from reading your words. Can't wait to meet you in person, and I know it'll happen one day.

Karen Cote said...

Well Darlin', looks like you've got everybody saying Darlin' now. Must be something in the air or maybe that Southern Charm is in fact too charming to resist. Love the interview and so very grateful I know you. You sparkle when you speak and captivate with your words.

Thanks Darlin'

gail roughton branan said...

I don't know why it seems to be everybody's mission in life to make me cry! But I'm so very greateful I found all of you!

Pat Dale said...

Hi, Gail. It's always so much fun to read posts from you. And you do sound like Paula, no getting around that if you wanted to and I'm sure you don't. Something about southern dialect says come on in, pull up a chair, and I'll pour you a cup of coffee. But it can sometimes be deceiving as I learned in Mississippi.
If you ever get a chance to read my psycho-suspense Crossed Lines, put in the southern as you read and you'll feel right at home. I wrote it with all 'southern' spelling, but was convinced by my editor that I should let the reader put in the inflections and such for themselves. I balked but, like a good little boy, did as she asked. The book speaks for itself, though, so no harm, no foul, I guess.
Hey, Ginger, thanks for bringing this gal to us today!
Pat Dale

Pat Dale said...

Hi, Gail. It's always so much fun to read posts from you. And you do sound like Paula, no getting around that if you wanted to and I'm sure you don't. Something about southern dialect says come on in, pull up a chair, and I'll pour you a cup of coffee. But it can sometimes be deceiving as I learned in Mississippi.
If you ever get a chance to read my psycho-suspense Crossed Lines, put in the southern as you read and you'll feel right at home. I wrote it with all 'southern' spelling, but was convinced by my editor that I should let the reader put in the inflections and such for themselves. I balked but, like a good little boy, did as she asked. The book speaks for itself, though, so no harm, no foul, I guess.
Hey, Ginger, thanks for bringing this gal to us today!
Pat Dale

Pat Dale said...

There must be some foulup in the word verification system today. LOL

gail roughton branan said...

Pat! Thanks for stoppin' in darlin'! Well, Down Home's spelled with southern -- but no so much a reader will have trouble with it, I don't think. You don't have trouble with my e-mails, do you? I mean, after all, think about the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon if they'd made her leave out the Scotts accent! Jamie Fraser without Scotts! Horrors! I will definitely plan on Crossed Lines! Already out? Muse or where? I have it on good authority I'm gettin' a color Nook for Christmas. I will never get over the thrill of having a reader or a fellow writer tell me that it's so much fun to read my posts. You made my day. Thank you!

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