Hi guys, we have Gene Gant stopping by today with his upcoming release In Time I Dream of You, we have a brilliant guest post and a great excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
In Time I Dream of You
Gavin Goode, a promising high school athlete with good grades, forfeited his future when he joined a brutal street gang called the Cold Bloods. The gang’s leader, Apache, discovered Gavin is gay and framed him for murder. Now in prison, Gavin faces rape and abuse on a daily basis as gang members there attempt to break him. When his father is critically injured and Gavin reaches his lowest point, a mysterious ally appears. Cato is much more than the guard he seems. He has come from the future, and he possesses the technology to undo everything that’s gone wrong in Gavin’s life.
But meddling in the timeline has dire consequences, and Gavin faces an impossible decision: sacrifice himself and his father, or let thousands of innocents die instead.
This book features sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Release date: 11th July 2017
Pre-order: Harmony Ink Press | Dreamspinner Press
Sometimes I’m driven to write a story because of things I don’t understand. I suppose everyone has his or her way of trying to make sense of the senseless. Writing is the way I try to do that.
I don’t comprehend cruelty. I know what it is, but for the life of me I don’t understand how one person can inflict it on another. The very thought of sadistically harming another person simply because I can (and this in no way is intended to reference or disparage consenting adults who enjoy S&M contacts) is repulsive to me. Likewise, I don’t understand urban gangs, where a capacity for cruelty seems to be a prerequisite of membership. Cruelty and gangs form the basis for much of the growth the main character, Gavin Goode, achieves in In Time I Dream About You. They are the bridge he must cross in becoming a finer human being.
Studies have shown that many young people join gangs because they crave a sense of family, security, and belonging. Those are things all humans desire, and they make our lives richer. But gangs don’t simply provide support and companionship. Often prospective members must pass some test—endure a brutal beating or commit a crime, for example—to prove their worth and commitment before they will be accepted. Once in, they are forced to continue committing crimes of one kind or another and face conflict with rival gang members. Many of them enter the gang with the expectation that they will suffer a violent death well before they hit the age of thirty. If they aren’t murdered, there is the ever present prospect that, like Gavin, they will find themselves serving a long prison sentence. They may get a sense of belonging in the gang, but the tradeoff hardly seems worth it, at least to me. I don’t see where a person gains very much in going from a situation that is bad into one that is exponentially worse.
Studies have also shown that some gang members join because they are coerced into it or recruited, so to speak. Of course, that act is cruel in and of itself. This is the route by which Gavin finds himself becoming a part of the Cold Bloods in this story. Even under such a circumstance, however, there may be other, better options available besides being drawn into the gang. In addition to exploring the human capacity for cruelty, In Time I Dream About You also touches on the sad fact that one bad choice often leads to another. Like a lot of kids, Gavin fails to see the “big picture” in deciding what course of action to take. He certainly cares for the people in his life, but some of his choices and decisions lead to unintended and dire consequences for the very individuals who are most important to him.
Even with these themes, I’d intended to write a much more romantic tale than the one that finally emerged. Initially, the story was Cato’s, told from his point of view, as he watched Gavin from the future and slowly fell in love with him. I eventually realized that, of the two boys, Gavin’s story carried more emotional weight and decided the story had to be told from his point of view. The story as told by Gavin is necessarily darker than Cato’s would have been, but it is no less hopeful. (Although, I should point out for those who enjoy romances, there are certainly tender and amorous elements to be found in this novella.)
And hope, finally, is what I would like the reader to take away from this story. Being the target of another person’s brutality, especially over an extended period of time, can leave the victim emotionally detached and unable to form trusting, lasting relationships with other people. Indeed, Gavin experiences many cruelties after he is forced into the gang, and he begins to detach emotionally as a result, believing that he is far too ruined to be worthy of any decent person’s love. Some of his decisions bring pain, not only to himself but to people whom he cares about very much. Yet suffering can make us stronger. We can learn from our mistakes, grow, improve our destinies and become better people. We can overcome even the most horrific obstacles in our lives, going on to find success and fulfillment. We can still connect with each other.
Love is always a possibility. We just have to choose it, embrace it.
*This excerpt contains mentions of sexual abuse & rape.
Dr BURNS curled her lip at me, an open show of contempt. “Gavin Goode, you have secondary syphilis.”
“Okay.” I guess that explained the weird, splotchy rash on my palms and the soles of my feet, the condition that brought me to the infirmary on this occasion. “Now what?”
A small, slender middle-aged African American woman with a curly Afro and the whitest teeth I’d ever seen, Dr. Burns looked as if she should have been teaching a kindergarten class or leading a Girl Scout troop. But she never smiled, at least not at me. Most inmates only saw her once a year, for routine physicals. My visits with her were much more frequent, something neither of us desired.
“I’m ordering antibiotics for you. You’ll get a shot today, and then one more shot down the line. That should fix you up. I need the name of the person or persons you had sex with so I can make sure they’re tested and, if necessary, treated.”
“Well shit, Doc,” I replied, getting more pissed by the second. “It’s gotta be one of the usual suspects. I gave you a list the last time I was in here, which had pretty much the same names as the list I gave you the time before that. Pick somebody. Hell, just call in every sucker on the list.”
She sneered again as she grabbed up her clipboard and jotted something down on the notepad there. I was sitting on the exam table in nothing but my white boxers. My nearly hairless brown legs looked skinny even to me. The room felt cold as hell and smelled of Pine Sol and rubbing alcohol.
When Dr. Burns finished writing, she stepped past the guard—at least one guard was always present in the examination room when an inmate was there—and handed the clipboard to the nurse waiting in the hall. Then Dr. Burns walked in a wide arc as she moved toward the desk at the back of the room, keeping herself distant as if the air around me was contaminated or something. Her laptop was open on the desk. She sat down and started typing, no doubt updating my prison records.
“You’re determined to break the rules, Gavin,” she said as she typed. “This is the third time in seven months you’ve come in here with an STD.”
“It’s good to know somebody’s keeping score, Doc,” I said.
“Don’t get flip with me,” she snapped. “I hate that smartass attitude of yours. You’re in enough trouble as it is, young man.” She was hitting the keys hard now, pop pop pop like kernels of corn in sizzling oil, a sure sign of her irritation. “Regulations state there is to be no sexual contact between inmates.”
I nodded solemnly. “Maybe you should tell that to Ross Hendricks and Deshaun Timmons and Malcolm Whiteside and the guys they run with. They’re the ones who keep sexually contacting me when I don’t want to be sexually contacted.”
Dr. Burns didn’t turn to me. She kept her eyes glued to her computer screen as she continued typing. “Don’t give me that again. The warden’s office investigated your allegations of rape and found no evidence that any such assaults occurred.”
“By ‘investigated’ do you mean when the officer sat me down with the other guys in a cozy little room, and the officer asked the other guys, ‘Did you rape this kid?’ and they all said, ‘Hell no!’ and the case was closed? Is that what you call an investigation?” I was teetering on the edge of the table now, glaring at her, my hands clenched into trembling fists.
“You claim multiple assaults but can’t produce even one witness to any of them. I examined you myself after most of the incidents you reported. I never found a single injury consistent with sexual assault.”
“I had black eyes! Busted lips! A cracked rib! Bruises on my fucking neck from being choked! A torn-up, bloody butthole! Swelling all over my scalp from having my head banged against the floor! What do the bastards have to do for you to get it, woman? Burn a brand on my ass that says ‘Property of the boys in cell block E’?”
“All the injuries I saw were consistent with fighting, which, according to your records, is partly what landed you at Escanaba in the first place. You’ve had plenty of fights since you got here, many of which you started, including the one on your intake day when you tried to steal another boy’s shoes—”
“Those shoes were mine! I was trying to get ’em back after the dude decided they’d look better on his feet and took ’em from me. Jesus, how many times do I have to explain that?”
“It’s always your word against someone else’s, isn’t it, Gavin? You’re trouble. Always have been, always will be.”
I jumped off the exam table and stood facing Dr. Burns. I had no intention of attacking her. Swear to God. My knees were scraped, black and red hashtags from where two of my three cellies attacked me in the showers yesterday and dragged me across the floor. I was only going to point out the new injuries to her, but the guard obviously didn’t see it that way. Before I could make another move, the man—big, muscular, about five inches taller than me—twisted my right arm up behind my back and slammed me facedown on the exam table. Despite the padded surface, the blow hurt enough to make me squeal.
“I’m notifying the warden that you violated the no-sexual-contact regulation again, and that you also refused to give me the name of your sexual partner. I’m ordering you into isolation for the next seven days. That will allow time to make sure your infection has cleared before you return to gen pop.” Dr. Burns didn’t even turn around to see what all the commotion at the exam table was about. “Of course, your time in isolation on medical orders doesn’t count toward any time you must serve for violation of regulations. You’ll be taken to isolation directly from here. Guard, hold him down until the nurse comes in to administer his medication. After that, please escort him to solitary.”
The guard was doing a pretty good job. He kept my arm bent behind my back, his forearm across my shoulders to press my body to the table, leaning on me with all his considerable weight. I could barely get air into my lungs, let alone break free.
Dr. Burns closed her laptop and stood up. “By the way, I ran an HIV test on you and it came back negative.” With the laptop in hand, she headed for the door, again giving me a wide berth. “Since you insist on remaining sexually active while in custody, I’m going to have you take an HIV test every six weeks going forward. You’ve been lucky so far, Gavin, but sooner or later, everyone’s luck runs out. Think about that the next time you decide to let your filthy urges get the better of you.”
“Fuck you very much, Doc,” I mumbled nastily. The guard gave me a swat across the head, apparently responding on the doctor’s behalf.
The nurse, a tall, skinny white man whose name I kept forgetting, came in just as Dr. Burns was taking her leave. He didn’t like me any more than the doc did. “All right, Gavin, get ready for a big stick,” he said gleefully. He yanked down my boxers, swabbed a portion of my skin with alcohol, and then jammed a needle into my right butt cheek so hard it seemed to go all the way down to my tailbone.
“Shit!” I gasped, convinced that damn needle was something used for inoculating horses. A deep, burning surge aggressively announced itself as the antibiotics flooded my muscle.
“All done,” the nurse sang in a cheery tone that dripped disdain. He yanked his hand back, and the needle hurt almost as much coming out as it did going in. “Guard, get him out of here.”
The guard let me go. I straightened and then reached down to pull up my boxers, wincing and moving carefully because pain was spreading quickly from my right hip down toward my foot. But I didn’t have to worry about getting any further dressed. The guard snatched up my orange prison jumpsuit and my shoes, grabbed me by the arm, and marched me near-naked out of the infirmary.
Gene Gant on Gene Gant: “If you ask me, a good book is the best form of entertainment in the world. A book can touch the human imagination at levels movies, TV, and video games will never be able to reach. It was love of reading that lead me to become a writer. I’m Tennessean by birth, a resident of Memphis for most of my life. I tried living in a few northern cities after graduating from college, but I couldn’t take the brutal winters, and I missed good ol’ southern barbecue. Now I make my home on a country lane outside of Memphis. When I’m not reading, working out, watching movies or spending time with family and friends, you can find me tapping away at my computer.”