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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Be My Guest - Gae-Lynn Woods

Please welcome my March guest author, fellow southerner Gae-Lyn Woods. She's a reformed banker turned cattle rancher from East Texas. She's married to a jazz guitarist Englishman, Martyn Popey. I bet the ladies swoon when he plays the classic  Get along little dogies, I'm a leavin' Cheyenne. Ahh, but I digress and have possibly insulted a musician.

On top of those credentials for a woman leading an exciting life, Gae-Lynn Woods also writes crime fiction. And when she’s not playing the roadie, tending to cows, fixing fence or digging post holes, she’s working on book three in the Cass Elliot Crime series and starting a new series for one of Cass’s friends, Maxine Leverman.

I bolded my favorite line in the excerpt below. Look for it. Before I hand over today's blog post to Gae-Lynn, I'd like to make sure readers know where they can connect with her and where they can find her books:

Twitter: @galynnwoods

Barnes & Noble:

And now, these words from my guest, Gae-Lynn Woods:

Thanks so much, Lucy, for letting me come post on your blog! I’m excited to share some of the background behind The Devil of Light, and one of the scenes that launches the story.

The idea for The Devil of Light came to me after a well-respected elderly man groped me. Not once, but twice. It wasn’t until a short time later that I realized he hadn’t used me for balance, but instead was grabbing my body intentionally. And that he thought this was his right. Yeah, creepy. It struck me that there were probably other old men who thought this type of behavior was their right, too, and I started to wonder what would happen if these like-minded men got together and found a way to bend others to their will through blackmail, or even violence. The idea for a cult, The Church of the True Believer, was born.

In this scene from The Devil of Light you’ll meet the two main characters: Detectives Cass Elliot and Mitch Stone. They’re interviewing Angie Scarborough, who has been hospitalized after her husband Lenny beat her and she killed him in the barnyard with a farm implement. Angie’s mother is in the room, as is Dr. Vijay Ramasubramanian (Dr. Rambo).

This scene lays the groundwork for the discovery of a cult that’s been hidden for years in the peaceful town of Arcadia, in East Texas. Angie murdered her husband because she believes he and other men are abusing their daughter and other children. Without Angie’s actions, the cult could’ve continued their abuse and the violent manipulation of townspeople unabated.

  “ARE THE COWS HURT?” Angie Scarborough asked as Cass and Mitch entered her room. She struggled to keep her eyes open as Dr. Ramasubramanian checked her pulse. The left side of her face bloomed red and raw in the fluorescent lights, the white of her eye now a slit of angry scarlet between her swollen eyelids.
  A narrow hand snaked from a dim corner next to the bed, stroking her dark hair. “Now sweetheart, calm down.”
  “The cows,” she demanded, straining to push higher on the pillows.
  “They’re fine,” Cass answered as Mitch drifted into a corner. “None were injured.”
  “Thank God.” She found the position she’d struggled for and settled with a tired sigh. “I guess you want a statement.”
  Cass glanced at Dr. Ramasubramanian. The thin man nodded once, balding head gleaming in the overhead lights. “Yes, ma’am, if you’re strong enough to talk.”
  “Now Angie, you should wait until we’ve got a lawyer down here.” A pinched woman leaned toward the bed, her face strained in the bright lights. “Think of the children.”
  “For once Mother, I am,” she said, softening her words by reaching for the slender hand. Angie drew a shuddering breath and focused on Cass. “I killed Lenny. You found the pictures?”
  Cass nodded.
  Angie’s eyes filled with tears. She pointed to her face. “He did this when I confronted him. He’s hit me before, but never like this. He’s usually smarter, hides the damage.” She fingered the smooth sheet. “He didn’t deny it. Any of it. Just laughed when I told him I’d found him out. He laughed, can you believe that?”
  “What are you talking about?” her mother asked.
  “Your perfect son-in-law is – was – abusing your granddaughter.” The older woman gasped as the sound of Angie’s choked laughter filled the small room.
  “Lenny was doing no such thing,” her mother said, voice sharp. “He has always been a kind husband and given selflessly for the children. Detective,” she added, watery voice growing stronger as she pulled herself into the light, “I insist that this stop. She’s suffered a severe shock seeing her husband killed like that. And she’s confused from the sedative. I may need one myself if this goes on.”
  “That’s enough, Mother. You have no idea who Lenny was.” Her words were firm, eyes bright as she found Cass again. “I told him I’d take the pictures to the police. That’s when he started to laugh, and he hit me. It must’ve knocked me silly, because next thing I knew I was flat on the ground and Lenny had gone back to working on the cows.” She drew a deep breath.
  Dr. Ramasubramanian shifted his slight weight and placed a hand on Angie’s shoulder. “The police can wait, Mrs. Scarborough. I would like for you to rest now.”
  “Not yet, Dr. Rambo.” She focused on Cass. “I don’t know if it is my daughter in those pictures. Maybe it doesn’t matter. All of Lenny’s preaching for all these years, and it was nothing but lies. I knew it wouldn’t stop. So I climbed in the truck, punched the accelerator and speared him.” A ghastly slash split her face when she smiled. “He turned at the last minute and I watched his face in the rearview mirror. He didn’t think I had it in me.”
  “Did he say where the photos came from?” Cass asked.
  Angie shook her head. “He just laughed.”
  “What photos are you talking about?” her mother asked.
  Cass had looked to Mitch when Angie spoke, her tired voice flat. “Pictures of your son-in-law abusing at least one child. Pictures don’t lie, Mother.”
  “Oh my goodness,” the older woman whispered as she looked at Cass. “Lenny? Is this right?”
  “There are photographs, but we haven’t confirmed identities yet.”
  “Lenny’s in them,” Angie replied. “He has scars on one hip and on his chest. The right side. Match them to his body.”
  “Good heavens,” her mother breathed, eyes rolling back in their sockets as she slid toward the floor. Mitch lurched for her as Angie started to giggle, developing a deep belly laugh that brought tears to her eyes.
  Dr. Ramasubramanian shouted for a nurse and helped Mitch move the older woman to a chair. He checked her pulse, his dark, solemn eyes watching Angie as she cackled.
  “Fainting is a suitable Southern response to anything vulgar, Dr. Rambo. Wave smelling salts under her nose and give her some attention. She’ll be fine,” Angie assured him, blowing her nose. She sighed, cheeks glowing and good eye twinkling. “Lord, I feel better. Look, you might as well sit down. I need a Dr. Pepper and I’ll be fine. Who has change for the machine?”

Thanks again to Lucy for having me, and thanks to you for taking the time to stop by her blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpt above and will get to know Cass, Mitch, and the other good and bad folks of Forney County through the Cass Elliot Crime Novels!


Jo said...

A horrid concept, but one that happens sadly. Sounds like a good book.

William Kendall said...

It's odd how an unpleasant experience can become the source of a book.

The book sounds intense, Gae-Lynn.

Gae-Lynn Woods said...

Thanks so much for letting me visit your corner of the blogosphere, Lucy - it's been a pleasure.