|Posted by BarbaraJoe on July 8, 2015 at 5:55 AM|
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Barbara Joe. I am Rhett DeVane—southern-fried to the core and proud of it. I am the author of five published mainstream fiction novels: The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate, Up the Devil's Belly, Mama’s Comfort Food, Cathead Crazy, and Suicide Supper Club. I have coauthored two novels: Evenings on Dark Island with Larry Rock and Accidental Ambition with Senator Robert W. McKnight. Suicide Supper Club received the 2014 President’s Award from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. The next book in line for publication is Secondhand Sister, slated for release in the late summer of 2015. I have also authored middle grade fantasy, Elsbeth and Sim and Dig Within, in the “Tales from The Emerald Mountains” series. For the past thirty-plus years, Tallahassee, Florida, has been my home, where I split time between my profession as a dental hygienist and my passion for writing fiction.
I prefer fiction flavored with a good dose of humor. Fannie Flagg, Carl Hiaasen, and Bailey White are among my favorite authors. Any well-written book with developed, believable characters suits me, too, and I always have a teetering stack clamoring for attention. I don’t read books overstuffed with gratuitous sex and violence. As to what I write? I refuse to limit myself to one genre, or to only novels. Seems, that leads many authors to produce stale, repetitious prose. Most of my novels are southern women’s fiction, with scenes derived from actual experience. Accidental Ambition is a political drama. Evenings on Dark Island is an off-the-wall vampire spoof. Recently, I have branched out into Middle Grade chapter books (ages 9-12), short story collections, and flash fiction. As with my reading preferences, I allow any intriguing, solid storyline to take me along for the ride. I don’t shy from tough subjects—cancer, depression, abuse, racism—but I have been told that I handle my readers with great respect. The best I can do as an author is follow the muses, as they seem to be more intelligent and intuitive than me. With them as my somewhat pushy guides, even my grocery list has potential.
Excerpt from Suicide Supper Club
Abby McKenzie scowled at her fogged reflection in the cracked bathroom mirror. “Just do freaking something, for once!” She could stand on her head to blow-dry her hair or use a curling iron until the ends scorched or slather on hair fixative products. No matter, her mouse-brown hair would sponge up humidity and straighten like a bird dog’s tail.
If her hair didn’t do right, how could the day do right? Or heck, how could her life do right?
“Talking to myself does not make me crazy. And if it does, what better place to be than where I live, a town with a state mental institution right on the main drag.”
She looked deep into her own eyes—pale green with flecks of gold. What if she didn’t wake up, some Monday morning? End of bad hair, end of mind-numbing routines. Just delightful nothingness. Abby stopped herself. Hell awaited people who dismissed life so easily, right?
Maybe her life was hell. Maybe that was the ultimate cosmic joke. The big bamboozle secret. You arrived one morning, somewhere in your forties, and nobody rolled out a welcome carpet. No horns blasted. Abby McKenzie, welcome to your private Hades condo. Grab a pitchfork, dahlin’. Get to work.
She shook her head. Stuck out her tongue. So did her mirror image, the rude thing. Nope. Couldn’t be true hell. Not her life. If this was hell, she’d at least have some company.
Abby added a third spritz of guaranteed-to-hold gel spray, grabbed her purse, and dashed to the kitchen to add her coffee mug to the unwashed breakfast dishes. She wove her way to the back door through a narrow path, past teetering stacks of twine-bound National Geographic and cardboard boxes, mounds of newspapers from God knows how many years back, and baskets of yarn. She made the same promise she’d made every day since her father, then her mother died. Going to clean this crap out. Yep, you just dream on Abby.
A wall of searing air hit her face as soon as she stepped outside. Cussin’ heat, her daddy had called it. He swore even the hardiest hat-clad church ladies spent hours of prayerful knee-time because of profane words spilled in haste.
Late August. Abby didn’t want to think about how much longer she’d have to put up with this summer. The pavement-buckling heat made folks in the small town of Chattahoochee, Florida—folks who normally took life in stride—into snippy, horn-blasting ingrates bent on sharing their dark moods. Sensible people went all stupid: a down payment on disaster.
“And I know about disaster.” She scowled at her wilted hairdo in the vanity mirror of the faded-blue Honda Accord. Good thing she had those interesting eyes. Otherwise, she couldn’t have been any more plain Jane if she had majored in it in college.
Thank your for stopping by and reading my blog today!