Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Tagged!  I’m It!  I’ve been tagged in a revolving blog-game called “The Next Big Thing”.  We're tagging each other to go "next".  I've tagged two good friends who'll be posting next week, when you can look forward to a great posting  by Roseanne Dowell at http://roseannedowellwriter.blogspot.com and Stuart West at http://stuartwest.blogspot.com.  So what's my next big thing?  Well, my current “next” big thing isn’t actually “Next”.  It just happened within the last couple of weeks, and it’s the fulfillment of a dream twenty years in the making – a story that’s haunted me, waking, eating, and sleeping for a very long time.  Ready?  To take a trip?  Where to?  Well, all over my local territory.  Downtown Macon, Georgia and out into the country surrounding it.  Rose Arbor Cemetery.  Stone Creek Swamp.  In the shadows. In the present.  In the past.  Because the past, like evil, never dies.  It just – waits.

What’s the title of your book?

          Books.  That would be plural.  Because actually, this project involves three books, The Color of Seven, The Color of Dusk, and the set of both books, The Dark Series.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

From a real-life ordinary moment.  In a law office.  In my early twenties, I worked for a lovely, lovely gentleman, an older attorney known to all in Macon as “the Judge”.  One day the phone rang, I answered like a good little secretary and explained that the Judge was currently out of the office, might I take a message?

“This is Jim Smith (not really, I don’t remember the real name, it was a long time ago) at Riverside Cemetery.  Please ask him to call me at xxx-xxxx.”

Okay, I was in my early twenties but I was possessed by the devil on occasion even then.  I wrote up the call and under “About” added:  “Has a vampire in one of the mausoleums and would like him evicted.” 

The Judge came back, read his message, went “What?” and we all had a good laugh.  But the idea never left me, the idea that this would be an hysterical short satire, a “Night Court” sort of satire, wherein the poor vampire had to defend his right to live in the family mausoleum.  I mean, his family paid for it, after all, for the use of dead family members By what legal remedy would you evict a vampire?  He’s family.  And he’s dead.  Sort of.

Somewhere along the line, the story line ceased to be humorous and it dang sure ceased to be short.  Final product:  The Dark Series – The Color of Seven and The Color of Dusk.

What genre does your book fall under?

Several.  This is me, after all.  It’s a dark romance/horror/vampire story.  The best description might be a southern gothic horror romance. Y’all know how fond I am of mixing up genres.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

At present, I truly don’t know.  I know who some of them could have been a few years past, maybe even now.  But I’ll tell you who and y’all decide who’d fit the bill with today’s crop of actors.  Paul Devlin – Matthew MaConaughey (as in the Time To Kill days, right down to the accent); Cain – an actor named Avery Brooks; Ria Knight – a younger Sandra Bullock.  It’s possible a younger actress by the name of Eliza Dushku would be very good at present.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The past, like evil, never dies.  It just – waits.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The Dark series is published by Books We Love, Ltd.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Three mortal years.  Three long years. I finished the first draft in 1992.  (See?  I told you this book(s) had haunted me for years.  I took a nine month break during the writing of it, though, because I didn’t want to do something to one of the characters I knew I absolutely had to do.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’m not at all sure, actually.  Because neither the horror nor the vampires are the true focus of this story.  The characters are.  The constant, eternal battle between good and evil.  The eternal triumph of human heroism.  I’d like to think it’s comparable in some ways to a wonderful book by another southern writer by the name of  Anne Rivers Siddons.  Her Fox’s Earth.  Fox’s Earth isn’t a conventional horror novel, but it is most certainly Southern Gothic.  And I haven’t read any of the current vampire series or bestsellers, definitely a conscious decision on my part.  I knew I had this sitting in the closet and didn’t want to risk any subconscious influences.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I think I pretty much covered that already.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

I don’t know that it’s of any interest whatsoever to anyone else, but my settings are absolutely real.  Some of the book is set in present day Macon, Georgia, some in 1888 Macon, some in the late 1890’s, early 1900’s Macon, and the store names and street names and building names are entirely accurate for their time periods.  I ran across an old map of 1888 Macon, so it seemed a bit stupid to make up names for things in downtown Macon when I had the real ones.  I’m very proud of that and it means a lot to me.
And uh—by the way, I grew up on the banks of Stone Creek Swamp, which location also figures very heavily in this story.  Want to know how it starts?  Well, it starts like this. Come closer.  Don’t be shy. Closer…closer...see, it’s like this:

          Deep in the woods that slide off into Stone Creek Swamp, teenage drug dealers retrieve their stash and receive an unexpected dividend—the unwitting resurrection of Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic.  Atop Coleman Hill, two young attorneys renovate a decrepit relic for their home and office.  A house with a past it wants to share, gifting rising young attorney Ria Knight with tantalizing scenes of its original owner. 

In The Color of Seven, Ria Knight meets the man whose image haunts her house.  He’s not exactly alive and well, but he’s not dead either, despite the epitaph on his mausoleum in Rose Arbor Cemetery.  The Color of Dusk concludes the story of the epic battle that raged in 1888 between Cain, powerful Bokor of Black Magic, and Dr. Paul Devlin, the man who finally banished Cain to the dank cave out by Stone Creek Swamp.  In The Color of Dusk, Ria offers Cain, now resurrected from that cave, his perfect revenge against Paul Devlin.  The past, like evil, never dies.  It just—waits. 


Twin dirt bikes tore through the night, shattering the stillness of the woods. The riders couldn’t ride fast enough to escape the vision chasing them. The vision of the skeleton sprawled across the cave floor, the rotting stake lying against its rib bones. Or of the resurrection begun when they’d pulled the stake from its resting place.
Back in the cave, that resurrection accelerated. Arms and legs rippled with muscle. The rib cage re-fleshed itself as the face re-formed. The skeleton moved its arms and worked its mouth. A croak issued from newly formed vocal cords. A shout split the dark.
“I’m alive!”
The echoes bounced off the cave walls as the figure inched forward and stood. The man, a coal black giant with shaved skull and massive shoulders, tore off the rags clinging to his new flesh and stood naked in the night. His new body raged with thirst. He sniffed the air and caught the scent of prey.
The man didn’t know where he was, though he knew where he’d been. He knew who’d drained his body of life-sustaining blood and buried him in the cave. He didn’t know how much time had passed but it didn’t matter. If he was alive again, then his nemesis, that interfering highfaluting white doctor, the recipient of the dark powers he himself had unleashed—he was somewhere near as well. And by all the dark gods, he would find him. But first, he must have blood. He sniffed the air. He didn’t care if the prey was animal or human. He must hunt. He must stalk and capture, bite and tear. And drink. And drink. And drink.
He stood, naked under the moonglow, and reveled in his rebirth.
“I’m aliiiiiiiiive!” he shouted again. His laughter rushed out over the woods and moved on further, filling the deepest reaches of the swamp. Night fishermen, tending their lines along Stone Creek, stopped dead in their tracks and shivered. The night noises of the frogs and crickets ceased. No hoot-owl or whippoorwill sent forth its distinctive calls. Even the swamp snakes ceased to slither. The heartbeat of the woods and swamp stopped. It took a remarkably long time for it to resume.

* * *

The house on Orange Street sat and waited.
While it waited, it remembered the glory of its early years. It felt unloved and unwanted as it sulked within the narrow boundaries of its city lot, pouting in the humid haze of the July heat.
The gracious two-story brick had been such a happy house. In its past life, its rooms were open and airy, painted in light colors, with golden woodwork and scrolled mantles over the fireplaces. A fitting haven for the golden couple who laughed within its walls.
The succession of owners hadn’t been kind to the house. They’d partitioned its interior into apartments and later into offices, allowing it to slide into shabby disrepair. Its spacious rooms were now small and dark, the glowing woodwork raped by paint. The hardwood floors lay hidden beneath cheap carpet. The ceilings looked down on the walls and floors and sighed.
Still, the house hoped. Perhaps it had absorbed into its bricks and boards the optimism and vitality of the young doctor who’d been its first master.
A ‘For Sale’ sign stood in the front yard. Maybe someone special would walk through its front door and see it not as it was, but as it had been, as it could be again. Maybe even today.
And as the house sat lonely under the blazing sun, a car pulled up and parked at its curb. A young man got out of the car and slapped another notice over the ‘For Sale’ sign. He stepped back to survey his handiwork.

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  1. I love how you mix up real locations (but not using the names) with your world of fiction. Congrats on getting these stories out and sharing them with the world! (I did blow some dust off of mine...!!)

    1. JQ! Thank you so much! You can see the places yourself, if y'all stop in Macon on the way back from Florida!

  2. Hi Gail, certainly sounds like a dark trilogy. Love the cover and the excerpt. I used real locations on one of my books also. So much easier to place them. lol.
    Thanks for joining the hop. Much luck with your books.

    1. Hey Lorrie! Much success to you, too and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Gail, I am so excited! I cannot wait to read these! I am clicking on one of the links above as soon as I publish this to purchase your new books!

    1. Oh, Lord! Words to give any writer heart palpatations! Bless you, bless you! Would you please stop back by after you read them, either herre on my Facebook -- www.facebook.com/gailroughton -- and let me know if you enjoyed them? I'm a shameless Mama and this series is really, really special to me!

  4. Great covers and great sounding stories! Congratulations!

  5. My gawd, girl, you sure can write! Love humor in paranormal and so glad someone is finally doing it. Double glad it's you! Can't wait to read this.

    1. Well, darlin', like they say -- it takes one to know one. Thanks for stopping in!

  6. Gail, best wishes on your series, especially something so close to your heart.

    1. Kathy, thank you so much for stoppin' in!! Yes, I'm pretty sure in my entire writing career, nothing's going to actually come close to the emotional investment I have in this one.

  7. Yep...My MUST READ list...89.9% of them Gail Roughton titles is making my Kindle seem heavier by the moment.

    And Gail...your blog? The student has outdistanced the teacher...Lordy woman, how DO you do it? Everytime I try to add something like flashing doodads and widging wadget it sticks its tongue out and spurts sloppy nanos at me. (Isn't there a vampire series about nanos being the REAL reason vampires are...well vamps?)

    I have a lot of FIRSTS under my belt since I became...OMG...A PUBLISHED AUTHOR...(my closet probably has as many dirty stones just waitng for the polishing needed to at least turn them into lackluster quartz, but none of my firsts is more deliciously pride making than being one of the first to visit your blog...(and turn green every one else)...be INVITED to be a guest blogger whenever the urge hits me...(Since you're so much better at this, luckily I haven't taken advantage of your generosity.)

    For everyone readinfg Gail's diabolically clever stories, thank GOD she found her way into publication. If ever the world needed soemone with Gail's lovely sarcastic romances, we do...and NOW!

    Keep 'em coming Gail. My Kindle doesn't mind being a little side heavy.

  8. Love Love Love it! The imagery, the premise and setting. Okay, two more to be put on my TBR list. I love gothic stories
    and these sound wonderful Gail:) Kudos, and wishing tons of sales for you as well.

    Cheers, Sara

  9. Hey Sara! Thank you SO MUCH!! I guess I'm repeating myself over and over, but truly, truly, my emotional investment in this(ese) book(s)is so intense I'm just overwhelmed at seeing them published. I truly believe in my soul this is the best writing I've ever done, which is scary, because I'm also afraid it's the best I'll EVER do.

  10. These are fantastic books, full of local color, vivid characters, heart-rending drama and edge of the seat suspense! My favorite vampire books in a long time. Great job on the books and answering these questions, Gail!

    1. Thank you, thank you! For stopping in AND for the perfect name -- The Color of Seven. You pegged it right away after your beta read. I'd been trying for the perfect name for years. Sometimes writers don't see what's right in front of them.

  11. I love a good series! My TBR list just keeps on growing! I wish there were more hours in a day! Good luck!

    1. Mary Sue!! Thanks for coming over! Time, right. Are there actually folks who have too much of it? Wonder if they'd sell it....

  12. Congratulations on your books. You've been very busy.

    1. Hey! I just saw this comment, hope you don't think I ignored it or don't appreciate it. Thank you SO much for stopping in!