Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Killian B. Brewer for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.
Title: Lunch With the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette
Author: Killian B. Brewer
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: C.B. Messer
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Gay Romance, Humor/Comedy, Romance
Release Date: 01/12/2017
When Marcus Sumter, a short-order cook with dreams of being a chef, inherits a house in small town Marathon, Georgia, he leaves his big city life behind. Marcus intends to sell the house to finance his dreams, but a group of lovable busybodies called the Do-Nothings, a new job at the local diner, the Tammy Dinette, and a handsome mechanic named Hank cause Marcus to rethink his plans. Will he return to the life he knew or will he finally put down roots?
Gays & Grays: Guest Post & Exclusive Excerpt from Killian B. Brewer
Early in my planning stages of my second novel, Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette, I was describing the basic plot to a friend. I said, “It’s about a young gay man who inherits a house from his grandmother and gets tangled up in the lives of her elderly friends, the Do-Nothing club.” At that point that was all I knew for sure about the plot. I described a few of the older characters and some of the interactions I knew I wanted Marcus to have with them. My friend responded, “Sounds like Steel Magnolias meets Designing Women with a splash of the Golden Girls. What is up with gay men and their adoration of old Southern women?”
I laughed and accepted the comparisons as fair. But she got me to thinking about her thesis that gay men love ballsy older women. I had to admit, using my own group of gay male friends as an example, she had a point. When my buddies and I hang out together, we often speak in a sort of pop-culture shorthand that relies heavily on movies and television shows about older women. And I have my own theory for why that is.
First, these characters are almost always sassy, witty and vibrant. They speak their mind and are often survivors, trying to make their way in a world that expects them to behave in a certain manner that is not necessarily how they want to behave. Gay men can relate to that on a very deep level. We too face a society that wants to pigeonhole us or demands us to act in a way that essentially is designed to make us disappear.
Independent older women and gay men are two groups that society would simply like to stay quiet. In movies and television shows, the older women get to be front and center, loud and proud, and live full lives. They become role models for gay men on how to stay true to yourself and be the star in your own show. And they show us how to do it with flair and humor.
Second, many of these movies and shows focus on groups of women friends. Back when I first came out, gay marriage was years away and frankly seemed an impossible dream. I think many of my gay male friends couldn’t imagine a future settled down with one person in a “traditional marriage.” But growing old in a funny, playful, and vibrant way with a close-knit group of good friends was something we could easily see. Steel Magnolias, Designing Women and the Golden Girls are all about the family you create with friends and facing life together with them. Often, gay men don’t feel like they belong in their birth family and create a “found family” that provides better support, understanding, and love. The idea that we wouldn’t grow old alone but surrounded by like-minded people is appealing and these movies provide us a framework to build those futures one.
Finally, though most of my gay friends desire and work toward progress and social change, there is always that little part of us that carries a nostalgia for the charm, panache, and wit of a (albeit highly fictionalized) bygone era. Older women often carry with them relics of this time, be it social graces, a sense of style, or the ability to zing someone in a subtle way. While many of my friends are thrilled to be dancing under the flashing lights of a gay bar, they would be just as happy wearing a fabulous hat and eating finger-sandwiches off of a fine bone china plate. We are charmed by their ideas and stories of a time when life was a bit less brutish and style, humor and devotion were cherished things.
So, I will gladly accept the comparison my friend made to these other forms of entertainment. Older women should be praised, adored and learned from. The knowledge they carry about survival in the face of a less than welcoming world is truly priceless. Their ability to love unconditionally should be a natural way of life. Their understanding that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to eat a big hunk of cheesecake, cry on a friends shoulder, or tell a funny story should be required learning for all people.
Finally, in case you were wondering, I am a Charlene, a Rose/Dorothy hybrid and 100% a Clairee.
* * *
Exclusive excerpt: Lunch With the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette
Hank removed the foil from one plate and placed it in the microwave on the counter. “Follow me.” He walked over to the door at the top of the stairs and pulled it open to reveal another staircase. “Watch your step. It’s a little rickety.” Hank disappeared up the metal stairs and through the opening at the top.
Marcus grasped the cast iron handrails, peered up the steps, and noticed Hank’s backside and hairy legs as he climbed and disappeared above. Marcus tested the first step with his foot and then tottered his way up the shaky stairs. When he poked his head through the opening in the roof, he gasped.
The stairs led to the roof. Around its perimeter sat large planters with pink and purple flowers spilling over the edges and small shrubs covered with white lights. A few containers held tomato and pepper plants. Long wooden window boxes filled with multi-colored pansies, bright red geraniums, and yellow marigolds lined the ledges on two sides of the building. Two long strings of dimly lit paper lanterns hung overhead between poles at the corners of the roof, meeting at a wooden arbor in the center of the space. Vines of confederate jasmine grew out of pots at the base of the arbor and wound their way in and out of the wooden structure. Marcus could smell the sweet fragrance of the tiny white flowers as the breeze carried it across the roof.
Hank held his hand out to Marcus. “Come on up, Fiat.”
“Oh, my god, Hank. This is beautiful.”
As he stepped onto the roof, Marcus could see a small wrought iron bistro table with two chairs centered under the arbor. A single votive candle burning inside a mason jar sat beside an old jelly jar full of daisies in the center of the table. Hank pulled Marcus toward the table, only dropping his hand to slide out a chair and gesture for Marcus to sit. Instead, Marcus stood looking at the arbor.
“I’ll go get the food and bring it back up. Why don’t you pour us both something to drink?”
Marcus looked at a carafe in a cooler beside the table. “Is that wine? How did you know what to open when you didn’t know what I’d be bringing to eat?”
“It’s sweet tea, Fiat. House wine of the South.” Hank walked over to the stairs and started back into the apartment. When only his head was visible, he stopped and called to Marcus. “You should take in the view while you’re up here.” Hank’s head disappeared into the room below.
Marcus walked to the front ledge of the building, placed his hands on the bricks, and tipped forward to take in the view. From this height, he could see several of the streets of Marathon spreading out around him. To his left, he could see two men working in the town square in preparation for the dance the next night. Though he couldn’t see their features, he knew by the similarities of their builds and the trucker caps on their heads that they were the Dobbins twins. He watched while the men strung lights around the white gazebo in the center of the grassy square.
Looking back to his right, he could see the flashing red, yellow, and green neon of the old movie theater marquee scattering swaths of color across the pavement and reflecting off the silver siding of the Tammy. The Tammy’s pink and blue sign winked back at the theater, as if brazenly flirting right there on a public street.
About the Author
Killian B. Brewer lives in his life-long home of Georgia with his partner and their dog. He has written poetry and short fiction since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Brewer earned a BA in English and does not use this degree in his job in the banking industry. He has a love of greasy diner food that borders on obsessive. Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette is his second novel. His first novel, The Rules of Ever After, is available from Duet Books, an imprint of Interlude Press.
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