It was two years ago today that Michael Gideon first came to the small Midwestern town of Timberhaven to finish his book.
At least so far as in a published novel.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this adventure! (And if you’re reading this and haven’t yet purchased your copy, here’s your chance.)
In celebrating the second anniversary of my becoming a published author, I’d like to share this excerpt from my next novel, Monsters In The Park. I hope you enjoy.
The piper spun, circling her drummer and her fiddler in a ripple of orange and brown fabric as the trio played an Irish jig. She danced to the music, feeling the rhythm in her blood. Onlookers were swept away by her, clapping their hands in merriment and searching their pockets for money to give. The piper smiled behind her pipe as she and her bandmates’ hat began to fill with loose change, even a dollar or two.
“That’s a lovely tune!” a familiar voice called from the crowd.
The piper placed the voice to the face it belonged to.
“Emmett!” she yelled, abruptly ending the band’s tune.
A tall, thin leather-skinned man emerged from the crowd; a banjo slung over his shoulder. He took his hat off to the piper, the gray of his hair and the wrinkles around his eyes the only things betraying his years. The piper embraced him in a hug.
“Vi, girl, how are you?” he asked once the embrace ended.
“Fantastic! It’s fall in Timberhaven, after all.” She smiled, “We didn’t know if you were going to make it this weekend or not. I’m so happy you did!”
Emmett nodded hellos to the other members of Vi’s band. He brought his banjo around in front of him.
“Of course, I did! Weren’t gonna miss the Mushroom Festival, was I? I hopped a bus from Louisville as soon as I had the ticket cost worked out.” He picked a few notes on the banjo.
Vi, noticing that their crowd of onlookers was dispersing, signaled to the others, and the newly formed foursome began a bluegrass tune.
The people returned to crowd around, cheering as one song led to the next, the music of the Appalachians speaking to them and coaxing out their coin, laughing and dancing around the street performers all the while.
Their next song, the third, started strong, born as it was of mountains and mines, but then Emmett began to fade his banjo playing out. Slowly, at first, his face full of confusion as though he was performing a song that wasn’t meshing with what the others played until finally, he stopped playing altogether. He hugged his banjo, his most prized possession, close, and peered into and beyond the crowd around them. Vi drew her pipe from her lips.
“Emmett?” she asked worriedly, fearful that the old man was having an attack of some form or another. She noticed as his hands trembled around the base and neck of his banjo. He shook his head at her.
“N-no, I . . .” he stuttered. “I don’t reckon I will at that.” He told her, gathering what few things he had.
“Emmett, what is it?” the fiddle player rose to meet Emmett’s gaze.
“The music’s gone wrong.” Emmett whispered, “Timberhaven . . . s’not right. The music here – it . . .”
Nearly as one, the crowd gasped as Emmett, the banjo player from Kentucky, collapsed to the ground.