#SpotlightFeature ~ Ballad of Jasmine Wills by Lee Rozelle #Extract #NewRelease #Satire


The Tallapoochee Farmers Bank opens at 8.00 a.m., and every morning Jasmine sits in her car and waits for Kay-Lee to come open the door. At the edge of the Tallapoochee National Forest, the morning air holds traces of ragwort, dogwood, and these vagrant pink flowers that pop up at the edge of the road. Oxeye daisies clinging to gravel lean in the wind as the trains clank by. Alabama is beautiful like that, like flowers clinging to gravel. Like Jasmine.

The slow train passes right behind Jasmine Wills as she sits in the bank parking lot with her foggy windows rolled up. Every morning she parks her brown Toyota at the back of the lot at the edge of the train tracks next to the windowless brick wall of the trophy shop so nobody can see what she’s doing. Old painted ads for hair oil, grape drinks, and leather shoes fade across brick walls behind her as she eats. The air in the car is hot and clammy, the smell of old food stark and sour under seats piled high with Styrofoam food containers, potato chip bags, wadded-up napkins, plastic soda tops, and dried up freedom fries. The fogged up windows protect her from nosy people.

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thumbnail_Ballad of Jasmine Wills_Front CoverA zany twist on the Southern Gothic, Ballad of Jasmine Wills is a wild and heartfelt tale of abduction and revenge, body shaming and media fame. Lee Rozelle’s debut novel is the story of overweight banker Jasmine and her kidnapper, the enigmatic Reality TV mastermind Preston Price. Trapped inside an egg-shaped studio in the secluded backwoods, Jasmine is tortured with haute cuisine, brainwashed with self-help videos, and badgered with cardio exercise routines for her growing mass of livestream fans. Filled with flashbacks of adolescent nuttiness and ennui in the 1980’s, Ballad of Jasmine Wills goes bizarro to explore links between Reality TV and the real, intervention and exploitation.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US  


About Lee…

Lee Amazon photo (3)From an early age, reading and writing were the only things I could do with any aptitude. People laughed at things I said when I was a child, so I became a show-off. I think I might have become a perfectly normal human being, too, were it not for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, that dog detective cartoon from the 1970s featuring creatures like “The Ghost of Captain Cutler,” “The Creeper” and “Space Kook.” I was captivated by the show’s combination of monsters, mysterious settings and goofiness.

Then I got my hands on MAD magazine, Creepy and Eerie, Stephen King and Poppy Z Brite, Twisted Sister tapes, David Lynch movies, and everything I could find by William S. Burroughs. I was for all intents and purposes useless at that point, so I became a college professor.

As a fiction writer, I have recently published short stories in Cosmic Horror MonthlySouthern Humanities Review, If I Die Before I wake vol 3, Shadowy Natures from Dark Ink Books, HellBound’s Anthology of Bizarro, Dark Dossier Magazine, Steel Toe Review, and the Scare You to Sleep Podcast.

On the scholarly side, I’m the author of nonfiction books Zombiescapes & Phantom Zones and Ecosublime. I’ve published articles in Twentieth-Century Literature, Mississippi Quarterly, ISLE, Canadian Literature, Studies in the Novel, and South Central Review. I’ve presented academic papers in such places as the Sorbonne, Tsinghua University in Beijing, Dogus University in Istanbul, and the Warsaw School of Social Psychology. I’m a professor of English at the University of Montevallo, and my areas of expertise are ecocriticism and critical theory.

Learn more here.

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