Book Spotlight: Benevolent by Devon Trevarrow Flaherty & GIVEAWAY!


 About The Author:
Devon is a writer in the Durham, North Carolina area. She is originally from metro Detroit, Michigan. She is a mommy, a wife, a hobby yogi, a photographer, painter, believer, and foodie. She has been writing seriously since her very earliest brushes with literature, and has published articles, poems, and photography in literary journals and magazines. She received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and was an assistant editor and freelance editor for ten years, during which she wrote copy for and contributed to various research materials. She has been blogging since 2008, first with The Green Notebook (now retired and not to be confused with “the green notebook”) and then with RealisticChef. She is launching her lifelong dream and tackling her greatest aspiration–to be a career novelist–with the publication of Benevolent.

Find Devon Trevarrow Flaherty on the Web:
| Official Page | Goodreads | Facebook

BOOK: Benevolent
AUTHOR: Devon Trevarrow Flaherty
GENRE: General or Literary Fiction

Published February 2013 by Owl and Zebra Press (Indie)

PAGES: 406

ISBN: 978-0-9889651-0-2

Gaby LeFevre is a suburban, Midwestern firecracker, growing up in the 80s and 90s and saving the world one homeless person, centenarian, and orphan at a time. With her crew of twin sister, Annie, smitten Mikhail, and frenemy Mel, she’s a pamphlet-wielding humanitarian, tackling a broken world full of heroes and heroines, villains and magical seeds, and Northwyth stories.    

Beginning with a roadkill-burying nine-year-old and a gas-leak explosion, Benevolent follows Gaby from her formative years; through her awakening during a soup-kitchen stampede; through high school drama; a college career filled with an epic term paper, a building fire, and a protest-gone-bad; to Israel, a land full of romance and mysticism. It all ends back in metro-Detroit with a cataclysmic clash to resolve all good intentions.

Find Benevolent Online:  

  Book Excerpt:

Gaby bit into a beef jerky strip, ripped at it with her teeth, looking into the low, fluttering, foliage at the side of the road. White cumulus puffs floated listlessly through an enormous expanse of shocking blue. The world shone as if scrubbed with golden soap.

“When are you going to go vegan?” Mikhail asked from his cross-legged position on the hood of the station wagon.

“Just hold on,” Gaby responded. “You should really start by pressuring me to just be vegetarian, I think. Or give up red meat, or something. Maybe just bacon.”

“You’ll break down one of these days; on your quest for the meaning of life and death and all. Vegetarianism and veganism are all about the sanctity of life. Respect for life.”

“You’re just a softie,” Gaby teased.

Mikhail did not respond for awhile. “Well you’re just mean. Look at you ripping away at the flesh of some poor animal that was probably abused during its whole pathetic factory life and then slaughtered in the cruelest possible way. You ever read The Jungle?”

“Not exactly the facts of today.”

“Whatever,” he said. “These are different days with the same evil in men’s hearts.”

“Plus,” Gaby interrupted him, “I’m not on a quest for the meaning of life and death anymore.”

“Oh?” he asked looking down at her.

Gaby looked away from watching his hair blowing in the breeze, golden in the sun (having returned his hair to its natural blonde after a few unnatural shades). She liked Mikhail’s fly-away hair, liked anybody’s fly-away hair, she mused to herself, not just his. He watched her gaze shift quickly from him, a habit she had that confused and discouraged him. They were on the way to see Melodie during the warmth of her first spring in Marquette. No Doubt started to play on Gaby’s sad excuse for a car radio, she turned it up loud and pulled over on the endlessly straight and flat two-lane highway flanked with corn fields pocked with green stubble. She jumped out to dance around the car with the door thrown open, like a wild banshee. It wasn’t the first time Mikhail witnessed such uninhibited behavior—which of course, made him love her more—so he let himself be coaxed from the car where he danced around with her until the song ended and they sat exhausted on the front hood, watching the occasional car pass.

“Yeah,” Gaby smiled mischievously at Mikhail. “I’m more concerned with the plight of the elderly.”

“Oh no.” He smiled as he threw back his head.

“Oh, yes. Do you realize that old age is one of the few existing totally acceptable—even institutionalized—things you can be prejudiced against without social consequences in this country?”

“Sounds about right,” was all Mikhail ventured.

“I love Sonja, you know. And I love my grandparents and my other elderly relatives. It bothers me to see them victimized, that’s all.” But looking at her sideways, Mikhail knew that wasn’t all, that there never would be a “that’s all” with her, and he wanted to say, “Gaby, I love you,” or even, “Gabrielle, I love you,” because he was in earnest. But he couldn’t make up his mind and something hard grew in the pit of his stomach and he said instead, “You’re a special girl.”

He dodged her suspicious gaze, abruptly sliding off the hood and making for his open door. “Someone’s going to think we need help and stop. Or a cop is going to pull over and arrest us for noise disturbance and unnecessary stopping at the side of the road.”

“You think they could ticket you for that?”

“If he made it up, we wouldn’t know the difference.” He turned to lean against the hood, again.

Both of them took in the breezy brightness for awhile and then lay back into the hot metal and tempered glass, absorbing sleepiness like lizards. After awhile, Mikhail asked, “You know how that lady used to tell me stories? That lady in the woods?”

“You mean Mercedes?”

“Oh. Yeah. I didn’t know you would remember.”

“Mm-hmm.” Gaby flicked her wadded plastic wrapper up into the sun and then tried to catch it, but it lifted on the wind and sailed down beside the car.

“She told me this story, once. Another story about The Queen and The Angel. I guess they were all really love stories, but I don’t know too much about romantic love.” He let the pause eat at Gaby, hoping recklessly for an intervention. When she did not stir, he continued. “I’ve been thinking about it lately. Maybe because you’re so obsessed with aging and death. But in the story The Angel has to go to The Queen’s castle to deliver a message into her dreams. A vision. And it’s been a long time since they have crossed paths. They have stopped trying to create ways to see each other and accepted their star-crossed fate. Unlike Romeo and Juliet. Very unromantic, really. And The Queen is probably middle-aged and I remember Mercedes saying her red hair was becoming streaked with brilliant gray. I imagined silver. That sounds beautiful. Anyhow, it turns out that The Queen wakes as soon as she feels The Angel in the room and they defy the world and spend one fleeting night together, just holding on to the darkness as long as they can. Inevitably, dawn breaks and so do their hearts: that’s another phrase from Mercedes.”

“I got it. It’s wonderful. Keep going.”

“Oh. Okay. So in the morning The Angel lulls The Queen to sleep, kisses her on her cheek and leaves a note for her on her war strategy table-thing. But before he can fly out the window, the dark leader of the Demonis, the one who has stolen all the stories, stands there darkening the room and cutting off the red sunlight. The Queen wakes again and she and The Angel stand holding each other once again as the Demoni guy reveals his use of powerful magic to separate them forever. He is hoping that The Queen will join forces with the Demonis or succumb to them and leave her throne empty. Of course, he wants the girl, but that’s just stupid. Like she would ever marry the crazy Evil Storyteller. Oh, well.

“So the Evil Storyteller completely botches their wonderful, heart-rending farewell and he manages to send The Angel off without another word between the couple, except for the heart-breaking look in both their eyes as they accept that this will be all history wrote for them. Then, with a violent blow to The Queen’s face, the Storyteller leaves, promising to return in a week.

“But The Queen picks herself up off the floor and wipes the blood from her cheek and spits out the window in the direction of the Storyteller before she notices the note there among the carved warhorses and armored men and miniature flags. She picks it up in trembling hands and reads it. It says what she had long feared: that though she was a mere mortal, The Angel is immortal. That he does not age, and she would. Of course, he cares nothing of her age because he truly loves her and always will, but The Angel says their mortality and immortality are illustrations for the bigger picture: their lives are not congruent. They cannot be together. And now, beyond the note, the Storyteller has made it real. The note urges The Queen to continue on with her life without hope of ever seeing The Angel again.

“Fearing the Storyteller’s return in a week, The Queen gathers one of her most noble and loyal land-holders, Jaden the Hero. She discloses her story and offers him both her hand in marriage and the bonus of ruling the kingdom in return for his warriors and his valiant protection of the kingdom. He accepts. He falls just as in love with her as everyone else does—maybe even more—and they are married by the weekend. All right, in the real story it wasn’t ‘the weekend’ but it had something to do with fortnights or whatever.”

“Go on, doofus.”

“That’s it. Jaden saves the kingdom, or The Queen does, depending on how you look at it. She sacrifices herself for the people and has some sort of spectacular scene where she uses magic to end the war and Jaden does the manly thing and even though she is rent from her true love forever, she and Jaden are well-matched and they are really happy together and have babies who grow to rule a peaceful kingdom where the Storyteller has perished and their mom and dad go down in great ruler history. The end.”

“Huh.” They lay side-by-side in the heat and the silence.

“I thought we were going to get arrested if we stay here much longer.”


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 Tour Schedule:

pre-3/18: Giveaway on GoodReads.
3/18 Paperback Launches on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
3/18 Guest Blog on self-publishing and Giveaway on The Book Worm

3/18 Promotion on Book Blogs
3/18 Q&A on GoodReads

3/19 Promotion on BookBlogs
3/21 Interview and Giveaway on Juniper Grove
3/22 Guest Blog (play list) and Book Excerpt on Butterfly-o-meter Books
3/26 Promo and Book Giveaway on Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf
4/1 Book Feature and Giveaway on Book Him Danno!
4/8 Interview and Guest Blog on The Pen & Muse
4/12 Guest Blog (being a mom and writer) on Wordplay
4/20 Book Giveaway and Interview on Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
4/29 Interview and Feature on JLB Creatives
5/29 Giveaway and Guest Blog (music and Benevolent) on The Undercover Soundtrack
7/9 Guest Blog on Night Owl Reviews

Happy reading until next time!