Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Welcome, Arlene Webb

Thank you so much for being here, Arlene, First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

As a child, I wrote poems for the pet cemetery.

High school, I sucked at French and Latin. I can say the Hail Mary in either though. I excelled in English. ‘How to Kill Your Gym Teacher in Ten Easy Steps’ got an A+.

What inspired you to write?

Through various circumstances I found myself working full time in retail. Extreme boredom led me to pick up a notebook. Words spilled.

What do you like the most and least about writing?

The most? Escapism. Unfortunately, I live in other worlds while running a flower shop. Gets aggravating.

The least? Infringement on the real world, thanks to time lost.

“Hi Mom.”

Huh? Oh yeah, I’ve a child. “Hey. What…when’d you get home?”

“Late. It’s your birthday, remember? There’s no food in the house as usual. Want a slice of pizza? You don’t expect me to do those flower deliveries….”

What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

That my sarcasm sometimes requires a bit of thought coming from an unfiltered and rather juvenile brain, but in general brings at least a chuckle or an eye-roll.

Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Ashes is a paranormal romance, urban fantasy thriller, which addresses the issues of unbearable loss. When someone is taken and life is intolerable without an orbit to rotate around, to what lengths will a man go to regain what he lost?

Dean Koontz, the novel Husband, details love between spouses. Ashes explores siblings, bisexual and straight attraction, and how love can be bonded in ways that even the grimmest reaper can’t slash.

May 2011, Ashes will be on the bookstore shelf at MuseitHot Publishing.


Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Don’t start. If you choose otherwise, don’t stop.

‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.’ Lao-tzu.

Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Yep. Sometimes. But then they take on a personality of their own.

What inspired you to write this book?

Ashes came about on a very hot day last summer. In a JD Salinger funk, my rose colored glasses off, I typed a brutal opening paragraph. It took 90,000 words to deal with the fact the world should be shades of ash-grey, instead of non-compromising black and white.

I learned to be careful what fate I decree for innocent, and not so innocent, characters who’ll do whatever it takes to find that happy ending. I feel that in creating plausibility, Myles Logan has been my greatest accomplishment as a writer to date.

What are you currently working on?

Urban fantasy, paranormal romance series concerning a splintered photon. I’m polishing Book 2, 3 needs editing, the final is in my head.

Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

My characters are a lot more interesting than I am.

Here’s an unedited excerpt:

Chapter One

Raw thirst dominated Lyle’s fantasy. Cracked ribs, battered leg, ankle bruised by the shackle, three broken fingers, deep slashes along inner thighs and bone jutting through muscle in the left arm—it all lay crushed under the need for water. Images of shimmering droplets danced behind his crusted eyelids.

How long did it take for a male in his prime to die? The metal rod had been staked deep into the desert soil of Las Vegas. Lyle no longer struggled against the chain, tried to shelter his skin from the searing heat, or screamed for a soul with a shred of human compassion to help him.

Surrounded by low shrubs with a pungent crisp scent, there had to be reason he continued to draw in their aroma. His daydream with denial began to weaken as his thoughts hardened from despair into anger. Lyle pressed against his brother’s stiffening body, but no amount of friction created a response. Reality intruded with more stomach spasms and he grunted, shifting aside.

He willed himself calm and focused on the message traced in the sand. He trailed his finger to edge the outline of the heart beside his name into a stronger, thicker image. The L blurred into an M, nausea clogged his throat, and the moisture in his mouth jarred him toward clarity.

The truth? Lyle was no longer part of a binary system. He wasn’t the half that needed water and medical attention hours ago. He was the worthless bastard who had to dig six inches further down, pull up a steel bar and carry Myles home.

An imaginary hand stroked his head, the firm touch of male flesh soothed the tears on his cheek and his dead brother’s voice whispered in his ear, ‘Sorry, Lyle. Permanently separated—how weird is that? You mustn’t follow me. Move your butt. Find them instead. Avenge me.’

“Sure.” Lyle spat blood through his cracked lips. “I’ll get right on it.” Impetuous and irrational, Myles had always been the weaker. But Lyle, older by three minutes, managed to rescue his younger bro from every sociopath that befell him.

Not this time. Myles headed for a pine box.

Lyle headed toward damnation as soon as he stopped pretending he was Myles. The chain didn’t hold his leg tight, no sharp object had opened his veins, and not a bone in his body had been smashed. Lyle lay facedown in the dirt, alongside his twin, imagining over and over what it must have felt like to die like this.

How much guilt can a heart take before it goes quiet? And who dared to approach, interrupting his snuggle with the dead? A ripple of dust and a fluttering irritated Lyle. Hot air and cinnamon hit his face. He snapped open his eyes and jerked to his feet.

A dying buzzard? More like a deathly ill, midget flamingo. The creature that landed in front of Lyle appeared deader than Myles.

He lowered his hands and hunched down. Three feet tall at most, a foot of height added by its scrawny neck, the bird angled its head as if it were blind, wobbling on decrepit legs. Two feathers—faded crimson and gold—clung to its hairless, grey form. It looked like it should be hanging from the fist of a voodoo queen. The thin twig dangling from its cracked beak smelled like the crappy shrubs circling them.

“Thirsty, little guy?” Lyle snorted. “So am I. Go away.” If it dared to peck at Myles, he’d wring its neck.

The creature opened its beak and the twig tumbled down. Pencil legs cracked and it collapsed. Its head whacked into the branch, and a sharp burst of resin saturated the air.

Lyle swallowed hard. He knew what the saintly dead would do. His canteen lay beside Myles. Dumping it into Myles’ mouth had been as futile as performing CPR.

A feeble chirp from the bird suggested the thing still breathed. Lyle grabbed the canteen, shook it and a few drops fell into his cupped hand. He held his palm out to the creature.

It lifted its ancient head and the final twin feathers separated from its body. A pathetic squawk raised the hair on Lyle’s neck.

“Drink, you dumb turkey. It’s all I have.”

The bird craned its neck and Lyle shoved the droplets directly under its beak—the creature burst into flames.

Jesus! Like he’d doused it with gasoline and tossed a match, sparks shot upward and fire flared, roaring yellow-red to reach for Lyle. He jerked his singed fingers from the crackling mess. A fresh sob burst from his lips as he straightened and scampered back to press his heels against Myles. Blasts of intense heat informed him this tiny inferno would incinerate the bird’s flesh, muscle and bone within seconds.

Lyle clamped his eyes closed and fisted himself in the cheek. Ouch. It felt like he was awake.

Chin lowered, he opened his eyes. Myles lay quiet, his deep blue eyes fixed. A jerk of Lyle’s attention and yep, the extreme combustion had already burned itself low. Arid smoke, heavy and bitter, tinged with a vanilla sweetness, curled upward in thin, wavy lines.

Despite the ache in his jaw claiming Lyle was lucid, the flamingo roast had to be a hallucination. Lovely. Why couldn’t he fantasize a clean beach, rainbow arcing over the tumbling waves? Naked female twins—cheerleaders—nuzzling his giggling bro who sunned himself on the wet sand. And, just for Myles, his head pillowed on the glistening abs of the quarterback while Lyle watched over them from a safe distance. But nah. Lyle’s sick brain conjured up a charbroiled buzzard, now a smoldering heap of grey-white ash.

Rage hammered into him, threatening to send the splinters of his heart blasting out his ears. He raised and lowered his heavy foot—no—he froze his stomp and fell to his knees.

He’d remove every trace of this idiotic illusion, and then maybe he’d wake in his bed, Myles snoring across the room and clasped safe in the arms of his policeman.

Lyle shoved his fingers into the fluttering grey residue. Eyes closed, he filled his mouth, swallowing without chewing until he tasted sand instead of ash.

Ashes—May 2011—MuseitHot


Thank you, very much, Roseanne, for having me on your blog.


Elena Solodow said...

Great interview and excerpt! I'll be sure to check out your book come May.

This is my favorite line:

It looked like it should be hanging from the fist of a voodoo queen.

KayDee said...

Arlene nice interview - great excerpt. Your strong imagery and characters have me definitely wanting to read the story...what happens to Lyle? Your descriptive style puts me right there beside the twins, in the hot dusty sand, watching that grey featherless bird blaze to ashes.
Thanks for having her star on your blog Roseanne.

Arlene said...

Thank you, very much, KayDee and Elena and I hope you both find out what happens to Lyle come May. Appreciate you having me on your blog, Roseanne.

Pat Dale said...

Wow! What an excerpt! I've gotta read this one. Thanks for baring a bit of your soul for us, Arlene. Pat Dale

chris41654 said...

And how lucky those of us who know Arlene well are to be the recipients of her humor? Don't let her fool you...she's anything but boring! Nice interview, Arlene. See you at Soul (Seoul) Garden.

Cate Masters said...

Wonderful interview. Such a powerful excerpt. It really grabbed me. Your writer's voice comes through so strong. Congrats on your upcoming release!

Arlene said...

Thanks Pat and Chris and Cate, I really appreciate the support.

S.Durham said...

Arlene, I love your sense of humor! Wonderful excerpt. Your descriptive imagery with the smells and the dryness of the desert are wonderful! Definitely looking forward to reading Ashes. Congratulations and nice know more about you! Sara

Barbara Elsborg said...

Arlene has the most unique voice of anyone I've ever read and what an imagination!!!! I've read Ashes - well I've read everything she's written that she's dared to show me - and I love every solitary story. But Ashes is something special!! Great interview, Arlene!!!!!!

Paranormal Queen said...

Congrats Arlene! Great interview.

Charlie said...

What a fun voice. Love your wit. Excerpt sounds great. Thanks!