Friday, September 12, 2014

Meet My Character

Thanks to Max Everhart for tagging me in the Meet My Character Blog Tour. This was fun.

Snakeskin from my work in progress/ almost finished novel, Tuskaloosa.

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person? 
Rusty Jones aka Snakeskin. He’s totally fiction.
2) When and where is the story set? 
The story is set between 1984 and 2014 along a fictional version of the Black Warrior River, just south of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
3) What should we know about him/her? 
Snakeskin is a cold-hearted killer, a man that kills without thought or remorse. He has a thing for innocence though, and refuses to hurt children. 
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life? 
Snakeskin’s life was messed up from birth. His mother (before he killed her) was the most feared criminal in the county. When he was fourteen, he was bitten in the face by a water moccasin. The bite created necrotic tissue on his cheek, and his nickname. When he was fifteen, something else happened that I can’t share because it would spoil the entire book. But let’s just say, it changed his life and him into a killer.
5) What is the personal goal of the character? 
To make the world a better place through murder and torture. Seriously. That’s how he thinks.
6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? 
Tuskaloosa. I’m putting the finishing touches on it now, and then my agent will try to sell it.
7) When can we expect the book to be published? 
Who knows, but hopefully soon?

Here’s a little piece:

I borrowed Martin’s boat the next day.  I changed my tactics and began asking around the Crook for Snakeskin instead of Rusty.  The responses changed considerably.  Everybody knew where he was, or at least claimed to.  Jeannie Mitchell, who still drove the same old boat with the same old outboard motor she’d driven when I was just a kid, told me between handfuls of sunflower seeds that he had a place up in Tuscaloosa now with “the rich a-holes.” Hank Burnside grunted at me as he worked on his dock.  He stood knee deep in the river, a toolbelt slung around his bare shoulders, trying hard to tighten a striped bolt on his slide before his grandkids came to visit.  “He don’t stay nowhere.  That’s by design.  Like a ghost on the fucking wind.  You don’t go looking for Snakeskin.  He’ll find you if he wants you.”  I came to Joe Chambers next, who looked like he was on death’s doorstep.  Liver spots all over his face, nothing but pure skin and bones.  He sat on his dock wetting a line and drinking Wild Turkey straight from the bottle.  He waved when he saw me, but once I began talking to him, I realized he didn’t remember me.  He just waved at everyone.  “Snakeskin?” he said.  “Hell, Snakeskin lives in his truck.  It’s geared so low, you’ll hear him coming from a mile away.  It’ll shake the damn road, it rumbles so much.”  He raised a bony finger and jabbed it at me.  “But you don’t want to find Snakeskin.  Hell naw.  Something in the boy’s brain ain’t right.  He suffers from an affliction that ain’t in no medical book.  It’s a meanness, but it ain’t the ordinary kind.  It’s a deeper and uglier and more lonesome than any meanness I’ve ever seen, and when it comes at you, it don’t hesitate. Man moves like a panther, always a pounce away from introducing a man to his maker.  A man like that don’t remember nothing nice about life, not even from childhood the way the rest of us do.   Once I heard he was running with Denton Price, I saw his kind of meanness straight on.  What Crook kid would take up with the man trying to run us down to Bibb County?  Even the meanest sumbitch around here has some pride about his home.  But, the devils always do find one another.”

Monday, April 28, 2014


It's been a while.

I've been busy, too busy to check in, I suppose.  But here's what you missed:

-My debut novel, THE YEAR OF THE STORM, came out from Berkley.

-My enovella, BROKEN BRANCH, came out from Penguin.

-My agent, Beth Fleisher, retired.  That was unexpected, to say the least.

-I wrote a book called TUSKALOOSA.  It's a crime novel about a fictional community in Alabama.

-THE YEAR OF THE STORM was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for First Novel.

-I found a new agent, Alec Shane.  He's with Writers House.  He's super smart and very enthusiastic about TUSKALOOSA.  With a little luck, you'll see it in print sooner than later.

That's about it.  Hopefully, I'll be checking in a little more regularly around these parts.