Web Blog of Connie Vines, author or multi-genre fiction. Awards: H.O.L.T. Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Orange Rose, Award of Excellence--Contemporary Romance; Independent eBook Award, Dream Realm Award. National Book Award and Frankfurt Book Award, nominee--YA Historical Fiction. Blog includes guest bloggers and snippets of WIP.
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!”
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.
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
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
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,
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
“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.
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
“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.”
“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?”
“Well, what?” The caller
was pushing his luck and he knew it, but he had a soft spot for all the young
“Who – the – Hell – was –
it and don’t you ever make me ask you something twice.”
“Not one of ours. Could he
“Well…. I don’t know,
“Keep an eye on him.”
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.