Today I am so pleased to welcome Julia McBryant to Joyfully Jay. Julia has come to talk to us about her latest release, Neon Saturday Night. She has also brought along a great giveaway! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


“Dammit, Littleton! I told you not to swim after goddamn dolphins twice already!” Henry yells once Audie and Calhoun have walked their way up the beach, hand-in-hand, god, those two are so gone for each other.

“I’ll swim with dolphins if I wanna swim with dolphins,” Jax says. Mule-fucking stubborn. He rubs his blond hair into spikes again.

“Honey,” Henry says, and he tries to make his voice as reasonable as possible, because otherwise they’ll both start screaming, “the dolphins come inshore because of bait fish. Sharks also come inshore for bait fish. Hence, where there are dolphins, there are generally also sharks. Like bull sharks. You hear about that little girl got bitten by a bull shark up the coast not long ago?”

“Not gonna get a good thing without taking a goddamn risk,” Jax says. He sits under the umbrella and starts sunscreening his face and legs again. Dammit, Henry wanted to do that. “There’s an ocean. There are sharks. Ergo, you get in the ocean, you lie down with sharks, Henry. I got within fifty feet of a baby dolphins today, so fuck you. I saw devil rays jumping, so fuck you. It’s beautiful out there. There’s — fuck it, you won’t understand.” Jax flips on his belly and picks up a book: The Collected Poems of T.S. Eliot. Fuck, but it’s a bad day for him.

“What’s wrong?” Henry asks gently, because Jax doesn’t read Eliot without a damn good reason. All those soul-sucking modernists. If he were in a better mood he’d read Dickey, or maybe some romantics, or Whitman or Ginsberg or Gary Snyder.

“‘You fit into me like a hook into an eye,’” Jax says. “‘A fish hook/ An open eye.’”

“Jesus fucking Christ, dude.”

“Margaret Atwood.”

“The fuck did I do to you today, Littleton?”

“You just don’t understand. You never understand. It makes everything worse when the person you’re supposed to be closest to doesn’t understand. Everything seems farther away.”

“Is this about the dolphins?”

Jax sighs. “It’s not about the goddamn dolphins.”

“Then what is it about? No keeping secrets.” Jax keeps so many secrets but Henry says it anyway.

He looks out over the ocean. “Calhoun’s going to fix Audie one day. You know that, right? It won’t be tomorrow and it won’t be the next day and it won’t be for a long time, but he’s going to do it.”

“Good for Calhoun and for Audie. Thank fucking god, because Audie’s a mess.”

Jax still doesn’t look at him. “You won’t fix me.”

“You don’t know that.”

“You won’t, Henry. We’re not like them, you and I. And it hurts. It’s just getting hard to watch after a week here, is all. I’m glad for Audie. I am. But I want what he has so goddamn bad.”


“To be fixable.”

“You’re fixable, Littleton.”

“How many fucking times do I have to tell you, Henry?”

“And how many times do I have to tell you, Jax?”

“You don’t know —”

“Would if you told me.”

They’re silent for a while. Jax stares at the ocean. “Yeah. Well. I told you I was lonely.”

“We both know that’s like, a shadow of the fucking story that leaves out the who, what, where, when, how, and why. It’s like saying, I don’t know, Batman wore black. One of these days I’m going to nut up and call your fucking twin and ask her about it.”

“Don’t you ever fucking dare,” Jax snaps. “Don’t you ever fucking dare call my twin sister, and don’t you ever mention her again.”

“Okay,” Henry says, as if he’s speaking to a frightened horse. “Okay, Jax. I promise, all right? Promise I won’t.”

Jax got too angry. Something slipped, and he doesn’t even realize it. His sister. Something about his sister.

“Hey, put down the fucking “‘Hollow Men,’” Henry scolds. “‘This is the way the world ends/ This is the way the world ends’ and all that crap. Let’s go swimming.”

“I just put on more sunscreen.”

“Fuck it. C’mon.” He grabs Jax’s hand. “C’mon. Bet I can dunk you.” He drags his boyfriend into the water, splashes him in the face, and dives. Sometimes, it’s all you can do.


Audie and Calhoun continue their long-distance relationship through college. They sneak off to Myrtle Beach. Audie drives to Charleston when Calhoun gets the flu.

They meet for a fake fishing trip on the Outer Banks. But Audie needs to belong, and because of his traumatic past, he feels like he has little to offer in a committed relationship. While he and Calhoun have fun together, they also have a difficult time negotiating Audie’s need to give as much as he takes and build an authentic relationship together.

Calhoun says his job is to learn to be loved. But Audie wants to be more than a fun top and a tragic boyfriend.

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Julia McBryant is, as the saying goes, Southern born, Southern bred, and when she dies, she’ll be Southern dead. When she’s not riding her horse or writing, Julia likes to play with her German Shepherds and rescued greyhounds, make all the crafts (especially those involving glitter), and hike, especially in the North Carolina mountains. She is grateful her husband tolerates both the dogs and the glitter.

However, for the most part, when she isn’t writing, she’s writing. Her favorite authors include William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pat Conroy, and Flannery O’Connor. She knows next to nothing about pop culture, and always loses at Trivial Pursuit but can kick your ass at Scrabble.


Julia is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate – enter via Rafflecopter below.

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