There are basically three types of people in the world: non-chocolate eaters, milk chocolate lovers, and dark chocolate lovers. Among those who like chocolate, the battle over whether the dark or milk variety is better can become quite heated. Fortunately, there is no such debate in literature. For one thing, there’s no such thing as a milk book. (Well, maybe in nonfiction. Cookbooks, probably.)
For another thing, liking dark fiction isn’t an either-or proposition. A reader could be in the mood for something light and sunny, like the classic beach read, one day, and on another day prefer something that explores the back alleys of the human mind. That’s the beauty of literature: it can take us to all kinds of worlds, each of them different.
The Smell of Gas by Erin O’Riordan and Tit Elingtin is decided dark fiction. Some of the characters are detestable people, or at least people so broken they make the others around them live in misery. Others try very hard to be good people, but find themselves affected by the choices of others, or by random acts of fate.
The Smell of Gas was released on April 23, 2011. It’s my third published novel, not counting the self-published young adult effort I Made Out With a Teenage Communist! It was the first novel for which I organized a virtual book tour. It kicked off on the book blog of Chris Redding, the author of Corpse Whisperer. Virtual book tours are a ton of fun!
The great thing about a virtual book tour is that each different blog requires a different kind of guest post. At author Deanna Proach’s blog, I wrote about the process of writing The Smell of Gas and some of its inspirations; I hadn’t shared that anywhere else. On poet Shah Wharton’s Words In Sync blog, instead of writing about the process, I shared a tease-the-senses excerpt in which a pregnant character waxes eloquent on the joyous smells of Halloween candy.
Perhaps the most fun blog post to write was the one that appeared on Jae Lynn Davies’ Sugar, Spice and Everything Paranormal blog. The Smell of Gas has Wiccans and Satanists, but they’re of the decidedly human variety. There are no overt paranormal elements. To appeal to Jae Lynn’s readers, I told my real-life ghost story.
I hope readers had fun following the Smell of Gas virtual book tour, that they learned a little about the book, and that they can’t wait to read it now. My husband and I are looking forward to doing a virtual book tour, and hopefully an in-person book tour as well, for our second crime thriller, Eminent Domain.
|The Smell of Gas|
excerpt from The Smell of Gas:
Edward sighed as he watched Barbara Jean push her plate away. Her steak wasn’t even half eaten. He looked down at his own plate, clean of everything but a few scraps.
“I thought you liked this restaurant,” he said.
“Hmm?” Barbara Jean stared out over the railing, at a potted plant that hung in between them and the window. It looked dry and dusty to Edward. He imagined the staff rarely made the effort to climb out there and water it, yet the plant clung defiantly to life.
“I thought you liked the food here,” Edward said. “You hardly touched your steak. You ordered dressing for your salad, but you didn’t even taste it. It’s our anniversary, Barbara. Surely you can go off your diet for a few hours for our anniversary.”
“I’m sure the food is lovely,” she said. “We ate lunch so late today, and I’m not very hungry yet. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll take the rest of the steak home.”
Edward nodded and gave his wife a smile. He knew the steak would never get eaten unless he ate it himself.
The server came to the table. Barbara Jean’s eyes widened when she saw the server carrying a small layer cake with white icing. Edward’s smile disappeared. Barbara Jean’s face spoke volumes: not surprise, but horror. Edward’s loving gesture had been taken as an insult. He’d had the nerve to suggest she eat cake!
“What?” the server asked Edward. “Is it not the right one? Was I supposed to bring a cheesecake or something?”
Barbara Jean excused herself, darting downstairs to the ladies’ room. The server set the cake down. “I’ll come back with the check,” she said.
“Bring me a cup of coffee, too, please,” Edward said. Barbara Jean’s visits to the ladies’ room were never quick; he had resigned himself to that a long time ago.
“Is your wife all right?” the server asked.
Edward had spent many hours thinking and praying about the question. He had known for years that Barbara Jean suffered from an eating disorder. She’d had all the signs of it even before they got married twenty-eight years before. She had good days and bad days. He knew, intellectually, she couldn’t stop herself even if she wanted to. He knew she didn’t even want to. Still, he continually hoped she would recover. She seemed to recover sometimes. For a few years in a row when she even put on weight. She’d had to buy all new clothes, which she now called her “fat” clothes and hid in the bottom of a dresser drawer. Edward felt sure the congregation, and even casual observers, suspected the nature of the problem. Still, he and Barbara Jean had been working at New Life Ministries for seven years now, and everyone was too polite—too scared, perhaps?—to say anything other than “I’m praying for you” to her. He gave the server his standard reply.
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i would like to thank Erin O'Riordan for guest posting today and to you as well for stopping by.