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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms by Deirdre H. Gage

From Goodreads: "Love love love this edgy, dark, intelligent tale of 4 ladies (who also happen to be Moms) weekend getaway that turned out to be more than what they had bargained for. This is a well written novel disguised as genre fiction. The imagery is so vivid that I can totally picture this as a movie [...] This is not a novel for the faint of heart. Get it, enjoy it with a glass of wine and an appetite for destruction."

Description:

Four girlfriends on a weekend trip to New Orleans attract the attention of flesh-eating Scavengers. The women must rely on their wits, a cocky Irish movie star, and a dodgy deal with vampires to survive the night during this wild adventure through the Big Easy.

GUEST POST
Age is Not an Issue

When I wrote The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms, I had just returned from a trip to that magical city. A "girl's" trip.

I use the term loosely, because I left "girlhood" a couple decades ago, and the last time I was carded for liquor was in Target, which should tell you everything. Once you hit that stage in life where you're buying wine at the same place you're picking up a gallon of milk and chicken nuggets, you might as well slap a soccer mom sticker on the old minivan and call it a day.

But I digress. The point is, I met up with old friends, and while we left college years ago, within five minutes we were acting as if we'd never left. We laughed and drank and ate and got into trouble, and I remembered what it was like to feel young and fabulous.

When I got home, I wanted to capture that feeling, so I started writing. Obviously, I had to set my story in New Orleans, and if you're going to write about NOLA, well, vampires aren't much of a stretch. I wanted to write something different, though, than other paranormal books I'd read and enjoyed. And while my choice of villains (scavengers) was new, what I really wanted most of all? Characters my own age. Grown women who were ballsy and lusty and not shy of adventure.

I can enjoy all kinds of books, and the heroines don't have to be like me, in order for me to appreciate them. But I've read enough books to recognize that usually, if the heroine is over 35, she might be plucky and resourceful, but she's not tossing back drinks in a bar. She's not trading dirty fantasies with girlfriends, and she's sure as hell not being stalked by flesh-eating monsters.

But why not?

That trip with my girlfriends reminded me that hitting your 30s and 40s doesn't automatically relegate you to "just a mom" status. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight series, I have to be honest. Many times while reading, I thought wow, youth truly is wasted on the young. As a girl, I'd have probably agreed with Bella's decisions. As a woman, I thought -- girl, ditch the dead guy and ride off with the hot werewolf, you only live once!

Younger heroines are often more demure and less confident, which is understandable. We've all been there. But with this book, I wanted my heroines to be brassy and loud, more confident in their sexuality and willing to try anything to get the job done, regardless of how crude or dangerous.

That's not to say younger female characters can't be all those things - they can. But sometimes, it takes a real woman to survive a wild night in New Orleans.

EXCERPT




The clock struck midnight at the Columns Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. A mild, damp breeze stirred old Mardi Gras beads dangling from the heavy branches of the live oak trees shadowing the porch. Aging white columns framed a massive wooden keyhole door and laughter spilled out from an open window where patrons sipped Pimm’s cups in the dusty velvet-upholstered booths of what used to be a grand dining room. A streetcar rattled quickly past on St. Charles Avenue, leaving a flash of old trolley and the faint buzz of electricity lingering in the air.

Half a dozen tables sat vacant on the porch, chairs long since pushed back and the tops stripped bare of crumpled white table cloths. One lone table remained occupied by four women, laughing a little too loudly as they sat back in tipsy satisfaction; a cluster of empty glasses and a dirty crystal ashtray evidence of their evening’s entertainment.

Somewhere in the Garden District, a church bell tolled the late hour, causing the women to jump a little at the sound. A dark-haired woman in purple nodded toward the direction of the echoing bell and quipped, “Sounds like God wants a cocktail.”

The woman on her left, a short curvy blonde in a tight black dress snorted; spewing the remains of a dirty martini all over her friend.

“Damn,” said the brunette as she patted a tiny cocktail napkin uselessly around the table cloth, and then looked down the deep v-neck of purple jersey covering her breasts, now damp. “My dress is getting drunk.”

A third woman, slender and graceful with silky straight black hair drawled, “Audrey, stop bringing up God when you’re intoxicated. It’s tacky.” She eyed the blonde, adding, “And Beth, honey, don’t order martinis if you’re going to slop them all over the table. Sloppy girls don’t get asked to the prom, if you know what I mean.”

The fourth woman was tall and busty with skin the color of milky coffee. She wore a glossy candy apple red wig, a sparkly silver sheath, and fake python boots that gave an extra six inches to her already statuesque frame. She drained her glass before declaring, “Evie, we all passed prom more than twenty years ago, so drop the Junior League shit. Besides, sloppy women do get laid.”

Evie pursed her lips in disapproval. “Syd, do you always have to be so crude?”

“Fuck yeah,” the redhead snapped. “I’m on vacation.”

Evie winced.

“Oh, calm down,” Syd said with a wink. “You just need another drink.” She wiggled her fingers in the air and a young waitress seemed to magically appear from inside.

The waitress sighed as she surveyed the dirty table. “Ladies, you ready for another round?”

Syd beamed. “Honey, you read my mind.” She looked around at the otherwise empty porch, adding, “hope we haven’t chased away your customers.”

The waitress gave a tired smile and said, “No, you ladies are just fine.” She gathered up glasses and asked, “Y’all celebrating somethin’ tonight?”

Audrey looked up from the futile task of patting her dress dry. “Yeah. I just got a divorce and Syd here turned forty.” She pointed to the redhead and gave a low, vodka-loosened laugh. “Now we’re all over the fucking hill.”

Syd gave her an evil eye. “And that’s why we’ve had to buy our own drinks all weekend.”

“Sorry,” Audrey replied as she tossed the napkin on the table and resigned herself to wet cleavage.

“Hey girls,” the blonde yawned. “Weren’t we talking about something naughty before I made such a mess?”

“Ooh, thank you, Beth,” Syd replied with a nasty gleam in her eye. “The list!”

“Ah, the list,” Beth’s lips twisted in a wry smile as she pointed at Evie. “Your turn. Five celebrities you’d sleep with if you weren’t married.”

Evie groaned. “The list? Really, Syd. Aren’t we too old for this?”

Syd gave her a stern glance and answered, “Evie, we’re forty. The only thing we’re too old for is American Idol. The day I can’t get drunk and fantasize about hot guys I’m not married to, you can plan my funeral.”
*****
Evie had been tapping furiously at her phone when she noticed a tattooed man standing too close and staring at her through a heavy curtain of black hair.

He towered over her by at least a foot and his greasy hair fell past his shoulders. Skin-tight jeans that needed washing clung to his thick legs and he wore a battered leather jacket over a mud-colored t-shirt. Although Evie couldn’t make out his face, she caught a glimpse of tribal tattoo designs wrapping around his neck, his hands, and presumably the rest of his flesh.

“Can I help you?” Evie asked in a snotty voice.

“No,” he answered in a deep, scratchy grumble, “but I can help you.”

Evie raised her eyebrow.

“I know Carl’s after your friend. And I saw who’s in the bar with you. That stupid movie star’s telling you crap about how he’s gonna save you, I bet.” He leaned closer and whispered, “He’s lying. You should call the cops.”

Evie peered at his face, but still she couldn’t see a thing but the hair. “I’m trying to, but my phone won’t work in this damn lobby.”

The man pointed to a hallway, “You can get service over there. Come on, I’ll show you.”

Evie hesitated. “Why don’t you just tell me, and I’ll get my friends.”

He shook his head, muttering, “You can’t let Declan know you’re gonna call the cops, he’ll try to stop you. Come with me now.” He grabbed Evie’s elbow.

She jerked it back out of his grasp. “No offense, but I know you even less than Declan, and he at least has manners. Thanks, but no thanks.” She tried to walk past him but suddenly he was pushing her down the hall.

“You gotta come with me. Call the cops before Declan sees you’re gone.” He shoved her around a corner and disappeared into a doorway.

She peered into the room, a small windowless enclosure fronted by a wooden counter guarding suitcases and empty wheeled luggage carts. The creamy white paint peeled just a little and the carpet was green and musty; it was not a room meant to attract attention. A slight vibration stirred the hot air but the man was nowhere in sight.

“Hello?” she called out, and stepped one foot inside the space. She held up her phone and with trembling fingers, pressed the 9 and then 1.

Suddenly, thick arms jerked her off her feet, quickly hustling her behind a stack of bags where her struggling body was hidden from sight. A hot, hairy hand covered her mouth, and bristly whiskers brushed her cheek as the man whispered, “Shut up!”

Scared, she did as she was told. The stench of English Leather and stale cigarettes filled her nostrils and then she smelled something fruity. A Styrofoam cup sloshing with icy red liquid was at her mouth.

“Drink it!” the man ordered, lifting his hand off her lips to yank open her jaw and pour the sickly sweet hurricane down her throat.

“Good girl,” he snarled, as she gagged. “Drink it all down.” She gulped as much as she could, until the cup was empty. The man tossed it to the ground and leaned over her, his jacket shadowing her eyes. She could feel his stubble pressed against her neck as he laughed. “That should keep you quiet till the others come for you.”

“My friends?” Evie asked, panicked.

He laughed again, coldly. “Not your friends. Someone’s looking for you, and they asked me to babysit. I slipped something nice and strong in that drink, honey. You won’t even know your name by the time they get here.”

Then he shifted so she could see his face. A thick silver ring pierced his septum and the tattoo Evie had spotted on his neck curved around his cheeks and chin, framing his face in permanent black ink. He brushed hair back from his forehead and Evie gasped. His eyes were bright, traffic-signal yellow. The pupils on the colored lenses were narrow feline slits. He stared at her without blinking, looking less like a man and more like a shaggy black panther.

“You’re cute,” he said. “Too bad for you.” Then he cold-cocked her in the chin and all the lights went out.





About the author:
Deirdre H. Gage is a Texas writer who has claimed half a dozen other places as home, including Kentucky and Chicago - but her heart belongs to the Big Easy. She has been published in the Darker Times Anthology Volume Three, Cosmopolitan Magazine and Appalachian Heritage literary journal. The Getaway Girls: A New Orleans Tale of Monsters, Mayhem and Moms is her first novel, and book one in The Getaway Girls series.

Author's Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

8 comments:

nurmawati djuhawan said...

thx u for hosting..
i love the book's blurb :)

Nikki Johnstone said...

Love the info on the book and the backstory from the author. Thanks being on the tour. Another book to add to the ever growing list.

Juana said...

I liked the excerpt. I can't wait to read this story.This is the book genre I love reading.

Juana Esparza

smiles said...

Love how the author talks about a girls' trip and used it as inspiration for her book. Just looking at the cover, I kind of got that impression. Looking forward to checking out how her trip is interpreted on the inside of the book instead of just a brief overview :)

Deirdre H. Gage said...

Hey -- hope you all enjoy the book, I had a lot of fun writing so hope it's just as fun to read!

Jan Lee said...

I love the title, makes me want to read the book, ;) What mom doesn't have monsters (toddlers, lol), and mayhem in their lives? hehe

Fayth97 said...

I have to admit the title of the book kind of threw off as far as actually reading the book, but the excerpt? Now that not only caught my attention, but pulled me in. Definitely going to have to get this one.....

CCAM said...

Fun, adventure and love at any age - great point