Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Author J.M. Dabney
(Twirled World Ink, Brawlers, Executioners, and Trenton Security)
My first introduction to J.M. Dabney was through the story Ghost (Executioners #1) by J.M. Dabney. It revolved around a young brutalized woman, Harper Sage and Gideon Jane, an enormous mountain of man transplanted to the small town of Powers, Georgia. The author was totally unfamiliar to me, but the elements of the blurb called out to me. The location of a small town in Georgia for personal reasons, and then the haunting character of Harper Sage, an abused transgender woman who in many ways stood in for the local transgender women recently killed in this area. This was a story that I just couldn’t turn away from. And from the moment, I entered the J.M. Dabney universe that the location Powers, Georgia is the focal point for, I was both a captured and committed fan.
Harper Sage was my introduction to J.M. Dabney’s ability to create incredible authentic people who bleed off the page. The author got under this character’s skin, crawled through her psyche, and let us know what had brought her to this broken emotional state, and how much resiliency she had left in her to allow her to recover to learn to love herself and Gideon. Dabney brings alive not only Harper’s intensity and yes, delicacy while remaining true to her choices as a transgender woman, but then she went into the mind and heart of Gideon Jane, a musician in the band Executioners and organic farmer. At points in this story, the reader feels as emotionally wrecked as the characters, drawn up into their lives and the small town dynamics.
There is violence in a Dabney story. These people have been subjected to unbelievable abuse, and her characters are often violent, brutal, and borderline psychotic in return. Their past, their upbringing has made them so, and the author doesn’t shy away from that fact. Pain, anguish, brutality, it’s all there but it’s also offset by a deep love found by the characters who get their HEA.
So by the end of Ghost, I knew I had found something extraordinary. J.M Dabney had created not just an incredible love story, but characters so memorable that I can see them and hear them so clearly even now. Harper and Gideon were also surrounded by characters that resonated with me with the same impact that they had, one of which Joker was the next story in the series. Joker is another man abused, hardened and brutalized by life. And my second story by the author. Into it I dove and found another astonishing tale of heartbreaking abuse, torture, and finally, if not recovery, then the ability to let someone in enough to find love.
From two novels, I then found out that Executioners was the third in a group of connected series. Be still my heart. I had a journey to go on! Back to the beginning series and the original men, couples, and location that started it all, and the series that links the two. That would be Twirled World Ink (#1), Brawlers (#2), and Executioners (#3). What an incredible narrative journey it’s been…to see all the characters that have filled the stories, seen their growth, as well as the town’s evolution, and know there’s still more to come. .
I wanted to share my discovery of J.M. Dabney with our readers as well let them in on where this linked series are going. Welcome, J.M., thanks for agreeing to answer Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words author interview questions. Your characters and series have me captivated by their gritty tales and small town location, I know I need to know more.
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with J.M. Dabney
Characters. All or most of the men in your series, from the first Twirled World Ink right up to Joker (so heartbreaking) in Executioners are men who have been abused, violent, hardened by their life experiences, and have expressed little hope in finding love until it happens to them. Usually someone with a past equally painful. Why these men? What started you on writing them? And was there a special inspiration behind Berzerker, the first? Or any of them actually?
To be honest, I like the idea of someone who’s harder to love, those antiheroes/heroines, getting that happily ever after. Finding love in real life or literary form shouldn’t be a color by numbers type thing. It’s like in Japan they have a process of repairing pottery with gold called Kintsugi. I mean, for me I think even the broken can be beautiful. It’s not perfect, but still beautiful. Berzerker came around when I was seriously considering that writing wasn’t for me. The characters I loved weren’t physically or emotionally perfect, so, this big, gruff and hairy guy formed in my head. I said to myself that I was going to write the book. It probably wouldn’t get published, but I wanted to write Zerk’s story. As I was writing Zerk, Trouble popped up, and he was what people would consider the epitome of the romance hero. Tall, blond, and buff, but inside he was broken and I dissected what I thought would be that tragic hero of sorts. To me, they were these amazing men, broken and hardened, sometimes violent, but they needed their other halves. I found the more I typed the more I fell in love with these characters that you wouldn’t typically see in romance. But I’m also a huge believer in body positivity and what better way to show that everyone deserves love then writing these men and women into romance?
Location: Powers, Georgia: Why small town Georgia particularly? My father is small town Georgia boy as is that entire side of the family who is spread across the state (Americus, Perry, etc.). I understand the draw but is there a reason you chose it?
Small towns have a colorful history, an eccentricity to them and I’m from Virginia so I typically pick Southern states to base my stories in. As I was writing, I needed a town name and Powers, Georgia it was. I don’t like using real places because I love the challenge of building the world or town from the ground up. I wish the answer was more interesting, but Southern towns and people are where I feel at home. The ones I know best, I guess.
The series starts with the Twirled World Ink Tattoo shop. I think people are fascinated by tattoos. I know I am as well as the artists, the tattooers themselves. I have tattoos and i know the, at least for me, slow process in deciding what I wanted and who I wanted to do it. But why start here? Did you already have the characters in mind as well as the shop?
Tattoo Artists are smart, creative, and unique. In my teens, there was this shop that I went to and one of the guys that worked there we could debate anything and I learned a lot about the history of tattoos in that shop in Edgewater, MD. I have several tattoos including a full sleeve. I always loved the process. It’s almost meditative for me sitting in that chair. So, my guys have bits and pieces of every tattoo artist or biker I’ve met in my almost forty years. I love bars and tattoo shops, so I put not just my passion for body positivity into my stories but these places I felt most at home.
Series. Each series has four books, one for each man. Has it evolved that way or was that the original plan?
I’ve been asked this before, I absolutely love series, short or long, doesn’t matter to me, but four seemed like a nice solid number. A close-knit group with potential for more, but I’m also an impatient reader. So, some of my decision was to keep the series short with as little wait time as possible because as I said I’m an impatient reader.
The Future: Reading backwards has been sort of a literary excavation, its been wonderful to get to the beginning of it all. But I still wish to look forward as will all our readers. I know there are at least 2 more books in the Executioners series. Can you tell us about them and the characters involved? When can we hope to see them?
The Executioners have two more books, King who you see a little of in the course of the series. Unconsciously, I believe I kept him a bit more sequestered for the fact I wanted a bit more mystery with him. Readers see him as a player, but I also highlight his love for his son. It the dichotomy of what allow the readers to see and what is actually happening behind the scenes. Hinting at what is to come, but hopefully surprising them when they finally to read the book. The final Executioners book is Sin & Saint, it’s a menage romance, their man comes in the package of the mature and reserved new Sheriff of Powers, GA. Camden Pelter is strong and dependable, mired down in the challenge of taking over and I gave him the crazy and completely loveable twins. They are exactly what he needs. As for release dates, King should be out later this month and Sin & Saint should be ready for release in December.
Will there be more connected series? Another after Executioners?
Yes, there will be another connected series, Trenton Security deals with Linus’s Crew. They’re a bit more hardened, some would say I made their pasts darker, but we’re dealing with men such as Livingston who is severely scarred. Some who grew up and aged out of the foster care system. There’s more action in the Trenton Series and I hope everyone loves them as much as the rest of the guys from Twirled, Brawlers, and Executioners. If people have read the Executioners I start bringing the Trenton guys out of the dark and showing the personalities that my readers will meet in the future.
Is there something you would like our readers to know about these men and all these series?
I would just like the readers who take a chance on my books will see a love that transcends physical or emotional perfection. These are just real people. Guys you could meet in your local bar/pub or even just bumping into one of them on the street. They may be scary, you may want to cross the street, but to me these men are the type you’ll want in your corner when life gets hard. I think they are what shows that true love doesn’t have to adhere to a certain package. As I said earlier, even the broken can be beautiful.
What’s next for J.M. Dabney?
Wow, that’s a hard question, I’m generally a writer of LGBTQ+ Fiction and Romance, but I write across all genres with all pairings including M/F. If anyone ever got their hands on my Work in Progress list they’d think I’m crazier than the characters I create. With the more books that come out they’ll see that I’m all over the place and I hope in the future that I gain more readers who just want to read a great story about a character that might not be your cup of tea, but you love them nonetheless.
Author of LGBTQI Fiction and Romance
About the Author
By day, she’s an introverted cook hiding out in her kitchen in the middle of nowhere Ohio, by night and any free time she may have, she is a writer of mainly LGBTQ Fiction and Erotica. Although. she’s equal opportunity when it comes to telling a story, she’ll even write a bit of straight erotic romance when the mood strikes.
She has been writing for years in old notebooks. At the age of eight, she wrote the worst poem in the history of poetry, but it sparked her love for writing. She reads too much and loves to get lost in other worlds and her favorite stories have to include laughter and having the reader doing at least one double take. Thirty-something, forever restless she uses her stories to ground herself, and find her place of peace.
Here’s the series to date. I can’t recommend these men and their stories highly enough. If you love hurt/comfort, broken men, and extraordinary tales, then discover the world of J.M Dabney and the town of Powers, Georgia. There’s still so much more to come.
- Executioners – third series