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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Vastine's Open House Shindig...

I tried to think of fancy words, catchy titles to start off my first blog on my brand new blog site. But I couldn't. 


I'll get right down to it. 

I'm excited because this Wednesday, January 22, my newest novella, "Glory Lands" will be released at Dreamspinner Press. So this event is a combination celebration of the upcoming release and a grand opening party for my new blog. 

Very briefly---so we can commence to the celebratory festivities which DO include door prizes---let me tell you about "Glory Lands." Set in 1931 East Texas, it's a very simple story about religion in a small community and the impact on the citizens when one of their own is arrested for homosexual activities. The faith of the town that always felt secure in its notion of righteous living is tested when "sin" rears its head. Especially the minister, whose beloved son just happens to BE the homosexual.

The story had boiled inside me for a long time, and it all began when I had printed out a list of law enforcement history in an East Texas county for an elderly co-worker---the county where he used to live and where my mother had also been born and raised. 

The friend pointed to one of the officers listed and, almost in a whisper, said, "I KNOW that man."

He proceeded to recount to me an incident he'd witnessed when he was eight years old. Something that, at his young age, he was too young to grasp its violent impact. Something this sheriff had done in the middle of busy day in this rural community, in front of witnesses. 

It shocked me, haunted me. And I had to write it, if nothing more than to get it out of my system. I changed the year, fictionalized the name, and began "Glory Lands" with the scene, just as it was told to me. 

And then I created a community around the incident and a handful of characters, all based on real folk's personalities----family, friends from this place--- and their lives in that town. It is the story of my heart, my roots.

Enough about that. We've got more stuff to tend to here.

Here's the beautiful cover (Reese Dante, artist) for "Glory Lands", which is available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press on January 22...

 Click on Link to Pre-Order

And now....here's an excerpt, the beginning scene I told you about. And...and...following the excerpt...are details of the prizes and what I'd love for you folks to do in order to be eligible. 

WEARING A giant smile—just as clear, bright, and happy as that very October morning—Othello “Ted” Jenkins stepped from Jousan’s Mercantile and out onto the crowded sidewalk. Against his shoulder rested a brand-new Winchester rifle, its shiny black barrel pointing to the sky.

A cluster of townsfolk, my Daddy and me included, who’d been milling in front of the store window stepped up to Ted to see his purchase, and he beamed like a proud mother with a new baby while they admired it.

Elihu Bishop moved slowly through the flock of people.

Even if Bishop hadn’t sported a stiff white Stetson or toted two—not one, but two—Colt .45s on his hips, his stride, with its perfect mix of statue-straightness and catlike grace, shouted City Marshal’s Deputy.

Just the sight of Bishop—silk and ice, all six-foot-four of him—scattered folks like kids, who, although they hadn’t done anything wrong, reckoned they’d best make themselves scarce just in case.

Nobody strayed far, though; they just sort of spilled away from Ted like a bunch of leaves flittering across the road on the breath of a soft wind.

Which left Ted alone in his own little spotlight as Bishop sauntered nearer.

Daddy grabbed my wrist, his fingers awful tight. I resented like hell his taking hold of me, right there in front of everyone, as though I was a squirmy toddler.

But right then, riled as I was, I sensed it. Something dark slithered through the crowd and settled tight as a fist of ice in my own chest—fear. Oh, at the time, I was too young to really grasp why this silent, invisible angel of darkness terrified me so. Maybe nothing more than me channeling my father’s tension.

Once he reached Ted’s side. Bishop blew a quiet, admiring whistle. “What you got here, Ted?”

Poor Ted’s Adam’s apple bobbed in his long skinny neck. His dark fingers toyed nervously on the butt of the rifle. “It’s a rifle.”

Bishop shot up an eyebrow and took his good time pulling a cigarette from his lips.

Ted gulped and amended his reply. “It’s a rifle, Deputy Bishop.”

“Isn’t that a beaut, Ted, isn’t that just a beaut.” A sneer pretending to be an interested smile turned up the corners of Bishop’s thin lips. He squinted and tossed the cigarette onto the pavement. Tucking his chin, he stretched out a khaki-sleeved arm to now-trembling Ted. “Mind if I take a look, boy?”

An acquiescent grin tried to reach Ted’s mouth, and he nodded, the rifle wobbling in his grip when he handed the firearm to the lawman. “Sure, sir. Sure.”

“Now would you just look at this nice piece of weaponry.”

Nodding, his lips pursed, Bishop studied the Winchester. It didn’t shake in his hands as it had in Ted’s. “What’re you aiming to do with this fine thing, boy?” The deputy’s steely

blue gaze shot to Ted from under the shade of the Stetson’s brim.

“I figured to do some huntin’, sir.” Ted shifted from one scuffed-booted foot to the other, and his glance danced around the crowd.

I recognized that familiar frenzy in his brown eyes. A desperate search for a place to run. I figured I’d donned that same expression many times in the classroom when I was about to be on the receiving end of the teacher’s yardstick.

“I see.” Bishop’s severe gaze narrowed. “Hunting what, boy?”

Ted shrugged. “Squirrels and rabbits, I reckon, sir.”

While being pinned under that stony scrutiny, Ted’s body went rigid, except for his shaking hands.

“Squirrels and rabbits,” Bishop murmured.

“Yes, sir.”

There went Daddy’s fingers again, squeezing me even harder.

Through the years, even when I’d grown old enough to recognize the face of hatred and its always-hovering dark cold cloud, I still wondered how I didn’t sense what was going to happen next.

With no warning, just offering a gentle “I see,” Bishop grasped the barrel of the Winchester and, with one fast-as-lightning movement, brought the butt of the piece down on the back of Ted’s neck.

The impact split the air and echoed off the buildings like a clap of thunder.

I cringed, the sickening thud jarring my innards.

Ted crumpled to the pavement, boneless as an empty potato sack.

With a deep sigh and a slow stare around the circle of spectators, Bishop stood for a moment, the rifle in his big fist. Then, like throwing a bit of stick into the garbage, he tossed the gun onto Ted’s still frame.

The Winchester bounced off Ted and clattered to the sidewalk.

The deputy shot one last glance at the stunned audience, sauntered to the wrought-iron bench at the end of the sidewalk, and commenced lighting a cigarette.

Daddy shuddered to life. Murmuring “Jesus, sweet Jesusover and over under his breath, he started down the sidewalk, dragging me toward our truck.

Over my shoulder, I kept my gaze on Bishop while being hauled away from the scene by Daddy. I’d been mesmerized, terrifyingly so, by the image of the deputy lounging on that bench as though nothing had happened.

At one point, Bishop’s eyes met mine. He must have enjoyed the terror in my own eyes because, after a long drag on the cigarette, he exhaled and winked at me through the spiral of smoke.

Until the next morning, when I crept out of bed to eavesdrop on my parents having coffee at the breakfast table, I didn’t know Ted Jenkins had died. The blow from the Winchester had broken his neck.

And none of the onlookers, not even one person, was brave enough to show shock or outrage when Bishop’s gaze had dared them to do so. 

Now to the goodies! 

Seven door prizes will be awarded, names drawn on Saturday, January 25. 

Two grand prizes: $25.00 Amazon gift cards and a copy of "Glory Lands". 

And five additional prizes: $10.00 gift cards to your choice of Amazon or Starbucks. 

Oh, yes, you have to do something to win. No test, no quiz....

But...but...all visitors who leave a comment (and their email address) will be eligible to win a door prize; but only those who follow the blog are eligible to win a grand prize. 

Thank you for stopping in and visiting with me! Looking forward to seeing more of you!

**Note: I owe the lovely design for my new blog home to the talents of A.J. Corza. 



Tess MacKall said...

First of all, congrats on the new blog. I love the look and your designer did a fantastic job. Kudos to you! Now let's get right down to it, shall we? The excerpt from Glory Lands truly showcases your talent as a writer. I know that the research you have done on this book will be perfection! I love the descriptions, the characters you've created, and the tone. Please feel free to post excerpts, lines, anything you want with regard to Glory Lands on my FB page! All M/M fans need to know about this book. And even if someone isn't a particular M/M fan, this book will be more than worth the read. I'm happy to help spread the word! Again, congratulations. Wishing you much success!

Missy said...

Very pretty blog. Glory lands wow cant wait to read it.
Love ya

Rick said...

You have me hooked, darlin'. And congrats on your open house! This is great.

Shorty Chelle said...

Wow that was amazing. I have to get this book. Congrats on your new blog.


Jaime Samms said...

Yes, see? I knew it. You have my guts all up in knots with just one excerpt. Congrats on the blog, but more, than that, excellent work on bringing this story to life, sweets!

Lou said...

Wow! I don't know how I missed the full story behind Glory Lands, but after reading that and the excerpt I'm even more impatient to read it. Bravo, Vastine! (I'm going to follow the blog, too. It's gorgeous!)

Kathy Kozakewich said...

Wow; after reading the excerpt for "Glory Lands" I'm speechless! There is so much raw emotion throughout, I could feel the evil that walked freely.
Stunning, absolutely stunning.

Phoenix Emrys said...

Wow! Powerful excerpt. Sounds like an awesome book and the cover is killer as well. If you pardon the expression...

Tempeste O'Riley said...

Congratulations on the beautiful new site! Best wishes on all you do.

tempeste.oriley @ gmail.com

one thing, how do you follow? I don't see where to click (I did follow you on FB and Twitter though

Steph F. said...

That is an amazing excerpt. You can feel the emotions coming off the pages. Definitely a must read. Love the look of the blog and excited to find a new author.

Following with g+- Steph F.


Jayden Brooks said...

I am sooo excited for this book to come out. Loved the excerpt.


Sebella Blue said...

A very warm and welcoming page you have, well done. I'm sure I'll be a frequent visitor.

blueshedevil32 AT gmail DOT com

Kimberly Mayberry said...

Congratulations on your new blog and your upcoming book release! The excerpt was so wonderful! Thank you for that! kbinmich AT yahoo DOT com

Renald said...

Good luck and thanks for the giveaway.
Follow Google+ / Deb Pelletier

H.B. said...

Congrats on your new blog site =) I have to admit you are a new author to me and I'll have to check out your books when I can find the time (bookmarked your books). Congrats on your second publication and first from Dreamspinner.

Thank you for the generous door prizes.

humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

Marissa A said...

This sounds like a great story!

-new google plus follower: Marissa A


Debby said...

Congrats on your book. The excerpt was quite powerful. Sounds like there will be a lot of emotion in the story. I hope to read it.
I tried to follow but the system refused me.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Debby said...

I am no following on BlogLovin' Debby236


i am following on twitter (@adamsgirl4602), friend requested on f.b. (patricia crews), tried following via g.f.c. but it wouldn't connect, kept giving me error messages. hope to still be included in the drawing :) book, sounds great, and def. going on my t.b.r. list. thanks for the chance to enter :)

patricia crews

Sharon S said...

Congratulations, Vastine! AWESOME excerpt. I cannot wait to read this.

Love & hugs,

Cassie Exline said...

Awesome blog, Doll. It's gorgeous and that excerpt is terrific. Can't wait to read Glory Lands. If I haven't said so already, the cover it beautiful.

Lisa Cox said...

Congrats on the new blog and the release of your book.
Very compelling excerpt.
I'm now following thru g+
Lisa Cox

Kathy Osborn said...

Congrats on the new look of the blog, I love it. Okay Glory Lands sounds wonderful ans I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the chance on the giveaway.
Koala571 (at) msn (dot) com.

Anonymous said...

I'm changing my opinion of historical novels, thanks to the great historical mm novels published by DSP. This sounds excellent!


dc9a63a0-833a-11e3-b5df-000bcdcb5194 said...

Happy release day! I loved the story of your inspiration behind Glory Lands. The stories behind the stories are always something that interest me, just because I love how the spark turns into a fire. I'm so intrigued by this brief snippet, and I look forward to reading more of it. Thank you for sharing it and letting us get to know more about you and your writing. Also, the blog looks great!

Wishing you much success,
caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

Cindi said...

Gorgeous design on the blog:) That excerpt was tense and scared me a bit! I didn't see any place to follow except for Google + which I follow you on already. Congrats!!

cc_clubbs at yahoo dot com

Sherry said...

I love the blog design. I really enjoyed the excerpt and look forward to reading more.
I follow by Google+ - Sherry Strode and GFC - Sherry S.
sstrode at scrtc dot com