Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mama Lona's Man by Brett O'Neal Davis: Character Interview and Excerpt: Bewitching Tour Stop


Mama Lona's Man
The Straw Man Series Book One
Brett O'Neal Davis
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9781301347049
Number of pages: 219
Word Count: 74,000
Cover Artist: Cate Meyers
Smashwords      Amazon

Book Description:  

Mama Lona’s Man combines a Caribbean love story with a zombie thriller. It’s a bit James Bond, a bit "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and a dash of "Night of the Living Dead. 

The leading man is a ex-Navy SEAL controlled by a witch doctor. When he meets an American girl caught up in island intrigue, they fall in love even though he's been dead longer than she's been alive.

            The encounter with Jake the night before had left her cranky and tired. She had hoped to stay awake and just have a normal day so maybe she would sleep well tonight but she could tell that wasn’t going to work. She could feel the sleep sneaking up on her like a black cloud moving across the horizon. Her stomach was growling loud enough to keep her awake and she needed to eat, but there wasn’t much in the house. They hadn’t gone shopping since before the Caribbean trip, and she hadn’t accomplished much of anything yesterday, so her choices were limited: ice cream, vodka and ancient green peas in the freezer; expired milk and bad eggs in the refrigerator, along with some mystery bread that had sprouted a leopard-like coating of green and blue dots. She opted for a bowl of dry cereal and starting making a grocery list.
            She took the cereal to the living room so she could watch TV while she ate. She settled onto the couch, turned the TV to an entertainment news show and that’s where she fell asleep.
            And, finally, there he was. She was standing in a field with lots of yellow flowers and stubby grass, a field ringed with oaks and pine trees. Low hills undulated away into the distance. He ambled up to her and she took another good look at him: tall but not too tall, in fact just a head higher than her. Thin but not too thin. He had the proper V-shaped body that men were supposed to have and he wore it well. His legs were muscular but maybe just a little short, or maybe he had a long torso. He looked athletic even when standing still, as if he might go bounding off at any moment. His sandy hair ruffled in the breeze. And then he smiled and she forgot everything else about him.
            “So we are outstanding in our field,” she said. “Do you pick the surroundings of these conference calls, or do I?”
            “You pick some of them,” he said, still smiling. “You seem partial to cliffs and beaches. Very dramatic. I picked this one, though. I wanted to show you what it looks like in north Georgia. This is where I’m from.”
            And this is where you were dead and buried, she thought, but she didn’t say it. Why spoil the mood? No wonder she was always dreaming up cliffs and howling winds, with an attitude like that.
            “So, I’ve missed you,” she said.
Almost to her surprise, he reached out and took her hand. His fingers were warm and dry.
            “And I’ve missed you.”
            Without having any direction in mind, they started walking, holding hands like young lovers. She expected violins to play, as it was a dream after all and such things could happen, but all she heard was the whisper of the wind and the cries of the birds. Her crankiness was gone, along with all annoying thoughts of Jake. She was fully in the present, and happy there.
            “I’m sorry I haven’t been in your dreams,” he said. “It’s harder to do than I thought, especially across this distance.”
            “So it was easier when I was close by?”
            “Much easier. Plus there was no time difference to worry about.”
            “Why was it easier when I was near?”
            He didn’t answer for a few paces. She thought she knew the answer.
            “When you weren’t around, it was easier for her to shut me down completely.”
            She was right.
            “The thing is, she’s never had any trouble shutting me down before. She controls me like a puppet. I’ve been around plenty of people before, but no one was able to break that. Until you.”
            That, she did not expect.
            “What do you mean?”
            Randy turned to her and gave her a soft, gentle, sad smile that nearly broke her heart.
            “I mean, I’ve been around people. I’ve done things to people for her. And nobody made me want to challenge her, nobody made me want to stay awake, nobody made me want to reach out … until you came along.”
            She gave his hand a hard squeeze, and he squeezed back. Such life in him, it seemed.
            “But, why?”
            “Why do you make me feel alive? Why do you make me want to be alive? I wish I knew.”
            He stopped and faced her then, close, and she felt the breeze and knew the birds were there chirping away but they all faded to the background when he leaned slightly forward and kissed her. She had expected the bracing cold of before but his lips were warm and wet. She gave her mouth to him fully and they embraced in the field of waving flowers. Randy seemed to have trouble breathing while kissing just like a normal, alive man, and after a while they broke off. She leaned her head in the hollow of his shoulder and waited for her heart to stop racing.
            “That was so different,” she said. “How can you be dead? You’re so warm.”
            “It’s a trick. We’re in Dreamland. I can change things here, just a little bit. I can make them be what I want them to be, not what they are.”
            “So the other night, back in Petit Royale?”
            “That was me. That was the real me. This is the new, Dreamland-improved me. Which do you like better?”
            “The real you. Cold lips and all.”

Character interview by Brett Davis, with Abigail Callisto

Brett: Thank you for this interview. It's nice to sit down with the daughter of one of America's top intelligence directors. But I've been told not to ask much about him. So, where do you dream of traveling, to, and why?

Abigail: This was cleared with public affairs, right? Just checking. As for travel, I like warm places. I like the Caribbean — I'm actually from there — but the last time I went there my life changed forever, so maybe that's too exciting. The problem is that if I travel these days, it means my boyfriend is on a horribly dangerous mission. So, for the time being, I like to stay home.

Brett: Tell us about your family.

Abigail: How much time do you have? Let's see … my mother passed away when I was young but not in the way that I was told. I have a whole family in the Caribbean I didn't know about. My father has always been a spy and couldn't talk about it. I have grown up feeling loved but almost everything I thought I knew about my past was a lie. Do you have a couch I can lie down on? This really could take a while.

Brett: Um, let's move on then. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Abigail: I still don't think I have grown up. My secret dream has always been to lead a punk band. And, for many years, I have wanted to build my own robot. So maybe now my dream should be to build my own punk-rock robot band.

Brett: Can you tell us a little bit more about what happened in the Caribbean for the department newsletter? The rumor is your father shut down a coup on the island of Petit Royale by using a new secret weapon, but nobody knows what it is.

Abigail: I can't believe you're even asking me this. You know this is going to get redacted. Let's just say that we did discover a secret weapon, but it's like nothing the government had run across before.

Brett: Then how do you know so much about it? Do you even have a security clearance?
Abigail: Let's just say it doesn't work without me. And it's not a robot, if that's what you're thinking.
Brett: Is there anyone in your past you would like to apologize to?

Abgail: That's a weird segue. I guess I would be nicer to my mother, now that I've learned more about the challenges she faced in life. I started to say I would be nice to my ex-boyfriend, but he was a jerk who deserved more than he got, so I'll leave him off that list.

Brett: I understand you also came back from your Caribbean trip with a new boyfriend. Can you tell me about him?

Abigail: This is for the newsletter, you say? I can't — won't — tell you much about him. He's older than he looks. He's incredibly tough but he's a sweetie at heart. And I love him with all MY heart.

Brett: Any chance we could get him on this interview as well?

Abigail: Can I see your badge again? This has expired. I think we have a problem here.

Brett: Oh, look at the time. I'd better let you get back to work. It was nice to talk with you.

Abigail (speaking into lapel): Security, we have a problem.

Brett: No, really … how did these guys get here so fast?

Abigail: It was, uh, nice talking with you. These gentlemen will handle the rest of the interview.


Brett O’Neal Davis is a native of Florence, Ala., and attended the same high school as Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis Presley. He studied journalism at the University of North Alabama and the University of Missouri, writing about music whenever possible. He also briefly “fronted” the one-man punk band Screwhead. Despite clearing $1.50 in profit on consignment sales of the band’s lone album at Salt of the Earth Records in Columbia, Mo., he turned to the slightly more stable world of aerospace and defense journalism, working today in the field of unmanned systems and robotics in Washington, D.C.
He is the author of four science fiction and fantasy novels, all published by Baen Books. The first, The Faery Convention, was listed among the best fantasy novels for 1995 by Science Fiction Chronicle, and Two Tiny Claws was named to the 2000 Books for the Teen Age List by the New York Public Library. An occasional panelist at area science fiction conventions, he also has discussed fiction writing at National Press Club events and at literary festivals, including the annual T.S. Stribling celebration at the University of North Alabama. Mama Lona’s Man is his first foray into paranormal romance, but it won’t be the last.



January 14 Interview and review
Books & Tales

The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
February 4 Interview

Roxanne’s Realm

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