Getting to know Gay Mystery/Thriller & Suspense Author, Ethan Stone

Guest Blogger – Ethan Stone

 

Ethan Stone 101

It really should be a college course since I am so very interesting. Okay, not really. This isn’t about me but it is basic information on the characters who have appeared in my mystery and thriller novels.

Cristian Flesh and Colby Maddox: In the Flesh/Flesh & Blood—Cristian is a detective with the Reno police department who uses rules to keep people from getting too close. He likes sex, but only anonymous hook ups, until he gets in trouble and meets Colby Maddox. Colby represents Cristian in a murder case but they fall for each other and Colby challenges Cristian to break his rules. Cristian is charged with the murder of a man he slept with who was also the ex-lover of a televangelist. The story doesn’t end with Cristian being cleared and he has to find the real killer and deal with his feelings for Colby.

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In Book 2, Cristian investigates the murder of a young hustler and is forced to deal with memories he’d rather stay hidden. After the case is solved Cristian faces his past head on, which means a very unhappy family reunion. Colby is at his side the entire time.

Gabe Vargas and Drew Bradley: Blood and Tears—Gabe is a supporting character in the first two Flesh books and Cristian makes appearances in this story as well. Gabe is taken into FBI protection when he survives an attempt on his life by a serial killer. FBI agent Drew Bradley grew up with a very religious mother and never dealt with his desires for men, until he meets Gabe. Gabe and Drew have to navigate their feelings as well as more attempts on Gabe’s life.

Jack Coleman and Derek Malone: Wolf Moon—Jack Coleman finds his life in a mess when he discovers that he is a werewolf and so are his boyfriend and best buddy. Jack isn’t just any werewolf he is one of great power, a born leader. Jack and Derek have to figure out who wants to stop Jack from taking charge of the pack.

Surviving Sin City

Kaleb Pierce and Cooper Lockwood: Zombie Boyz/Surviving Sin City (Written with Daniel Kaine)—Las Vegas native Kaleb Pierce and Cooper Lockwood are thrown together when Vegas turns into a zombie bloodbath. They don’t get along but rely on each other to survive and can’t ignore a sexual attraction, even when their lives are in danger.

 

Luke Kincaid and Ben Skinner: Subject 13—Childhood friends Luke and Ben reconnect when Luke tries to stop his ex-boyfriend, Shane, from getting married. Luke fails but he and Ben become friends again. Luke soon finds himself drawn to Ben, who he assumes is straight, while also dealing with the return of childhood nightmares. Luke is thrilled when Ben admits he is bi and has feelings for Luke, but at the same time he learns his nightmares are repressed memories. Luke and Ben find themselves in the middle of a government conspiracy and have to hide from an assassin out to kill Luke.

I will be getting the rights to Subject 13 back soon and will be republishing it with several plot changes.

Linc Carpenter and Brady Williams: Bartender, PI: Disgraced hockey player Linc Carpenter moves to Florida to work at his mentor’s bar but wants something more. He becomes a private investigator and is hired to prove a wealthy fashion designer is cheating on his wife. Bodyguard Brady Williams stands in Linc’s way, well, Brady and Linc’s incompetence. When the case becomes dangerous, Linc realizes all isn’t what it seems and he has to find a way to prove the truth.

I will be getting the rights to Bartender, PI back soon and will be republishing it with only minor changes.

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Jason Holt and Quinn Reynolds: Past Tense—Jason has been running from his past for years and hired PI Quinn Reynolds to help him deal with it once and for all. Quinn protects Jason and finds himself drawn to a man for the first time since the death of his lover. Jason is shocked to learn that not only do demons exist but Quinn and his family are hunters. Jason and Quinn have to navigate the world of the paranormal as well as their feelings for each other.

Daniel “Kash” Kashaveroff, Cody Ives and Zane Davis: Compromised, Uniformity, Bk 1—Kash and Zane are correctional officers at a maximum security prison, a place where its dangerous to admit being gay. They begin a no strings attached relationship but it turns to more, despite Zane’s growing bond with Inmate Cody Ives. Kash and Zane try a committed relationship, but Zane finds it too difficult. Kash helps prove Cody is innocent, but then the real killer comes after both of them.

Zane Davis and Brett Emerson—Damaged, Uniformity, Bk 2—Zane falls hard over heels for Brett, a coworker. He is stunned that for the first time he wants to commit to a man, but Brett is reluctant to get close because of a traumatic event in his past. Zane discovers a prison conspiracy and ends up suspended. Zane and Brett work together to expose the truth.

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Dylan Hoss and Joey Campbell—Recruited, Uniformity, Bk 3(Due out in April)—Inmate Dylan Hoss has no problem getting blow jobs from fellow prisoners, but doesn’t consider himself gay. New roommate Joey Campbell makes him question things when it becomes more than sex and Dylan falls for him. He is devastated when Joey disappears from his life but thrilled when he gets an early release. Life on the streets isn’t easy when Dylan ends up being recruited by the FBI to help bring down an eco-terrorist.

Jake Sullivan, Garrett Townsend and Nathaniel Colt: Through the Eyes of Evil (Work in progress)—Jake Sullivan is plagued with nightmares that appear to be psychic visions. Nathaniel Colt is the detective investigating murders that don’t appear to be linked until Jake comes to him. Garrett Townsend is the man they both fall for.

Ethan Stone is becoming a duck once again. After more than a decade away from the soggy state of Oregon he is back in his home state. He used to have a day job where he wore a sexy uniform work, now he can wear whatever he wants to work as he attempts to see if this writing thing can support his Mt. Dew addiction.

 

Find Ethan Stone on the internet:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ethan.stone.54

www.ethanjstone.com

SPOTLIGHT – Mark Zubro’s gay YA Mystery novel; SAFE

Very special treat for you today with an excerpt from SAFE, the new Gay YA Mystery/Thriller novel from Mark Zubro.

SAFE, by Mark Zubro

Blurb:

In an unsafe world, death and danger stalk gay teens, Roger Cook and Steve Koemer.

Roger Cook is in the middle of his senior year when Kyle Davis, the most picked on kid in his high school commits suicide. Roger agrees to write an article on Kyle for the school newspaper. As he gathers information, Roger realizes the dead boy was gay and may have been murdered. Gay himself, Roger wants to find out the truth, but this leads him to danger and the possibility of love. Roger opens himself to even greater risk while trying to make those around him safe.SAFE

 

Chapter One

Monday 7:04 A.M.

 

When I was two feet from the newspaper office door, Darlene Banyon rushed up to me and said, “Roger, did you hear the news?”

I shrugged. “I’m lucky to be awake and moving at this hour.”

“Kyle Davis committed suicide.”

It was early on the Monday after Christmas vacation and only some janitors and a few of the nerdiest teachers were in school. Monday is deadline day, whether or not we just had two weeks of vacation. I planned to finish some final rewrites on my next column before the bell rang for first period.

Darlene Banyon is our editor. She’ll probably be valedictorian of our class. She’s a little overweight and wears a huge assortment of rhinestone-studded glasses. She’s pretty silent, like she rarely says, “Good story” or “Thanks for the help.” I know she takes her job seriously because she’s always after school for hours every day making sure everything is perfect. Nothing gets past her scrutiny.

I guess that’s good in an editor, but I think she could lighten up a little. I know the pressure gets to her. On the days the paper is supposed to come out she snaps at everybody, demanding rewrites and cuts and edits and changes at the last second. If the paper is even a minute late from the printer, she starts slamming things around. She only calms down after a couple of her friends come by and tell her how great the paper looks.

I like her a lot. I just avoid her when she’s in a mood. This year we’ve become friends, and even though she’s dating a guy who goes to the University of California Riverside, we go out for coffee or a soda once or twice a week. We discuss politics, the reason why things happen, the meaning behind events, why people do crazy things, everything. Of all the people I know, she’d be the first one I’d tell I was gay.

Darlene continued, “It was too late to make this morning’s Riverside Tribune. It got posted on a few kids’ pages just an hour or so ago, and now everybody’s sending messages about it.” She showed me her phone.

After I read a couple, I said, “It doesn’t say when it happened.”

“Supposedly, sometime after nine o’clock last night.”

“I was at the basketball tournament all weekend. The final game ran into double overtime. I didn’t get home until late. Nothing was on the Net when I went to bed.”

Darlene snorted. “I’m surprised anybody Tweeted anything. I’m surprised anybody cared. They probably don’t. They probably just love death and gossip.” She gave an angry snarl as we walked into the office together.

In the senior class at Riverside Memorial, we’ve got just under a thousand kids. So you don’t know everybody, but I think we all knew Kyle Davis. Every day he plodded over two miles to school. He could have taken transportation provided by the district, but when he was a freshman, a few other kids had forced him into the back seat of the bus, taken his pants and underwear, and tossed them out the window. Before the bus driver figured out the screams were those of distress, he’d driven half a mile.

They caught the guys who did it, and they got suspended, but Kyle never rode the bus again. Danger lurked as he’d walked down the halls: getting shoved into lockers, his path blocked deliberately, incessantly taunted and teased.

Kyle had been maybe twenty-five pounds overweight, and all of it had added to his baby fat. He was around five foot six, so fighting back, even if he’d wanted to, wasn’t a practical consideration.

At least, I’d never heard of him getting back at his tormentors. He’d never been in any of my classes, but I’d seen him nearly every day, on the way to school, one foot plunking in front of the other, never hurrying. He’d always carried a faded green backpack. Every day as he’d approached what was for him high school hell, he’d looked like an out of shape recruit in the army finishing his first twenty-five mile hike.

Darlene read from her iPhone. “They found him hanging from a pepper tree in the orange groves, somewhere way out past Victoria Avenue near Jackson Street.”

“Does it say anything about him leaving a note?” I asked.

“Nothing here.” She punched a lot more buttons. “Nothing like a police report. Nothing on the Riverside Tribune Web site so far.”

Steve Koemer rushed in, nodded to us, and hurried to set up his laptop. In about ten seconds he was typing away. Steve was our newest staff member, the gofer to do the dirty work nobody else wanted, a junior severely afflicted with teenage uncoordination, terminal shyness, and skinny to the point of emaciation. He dropped stuff all the time. He often made silly mistakes while working on the newspaper program on the computer, but he never made mistakes editing our copy. He wore black-framed glasses. Darlene helped him out a lot, and I’d helped him cover up a couple mistakes he’d made with the computer program. When I worked with him, he was quick to learn and asked intelligent questions. His dad was a preacher for the Witness for Jesus Church.

Bert Blaire, our so-called ace reporter, breezed into the room. He slapped me on the back and said, “Hey, Rog, how’s it hangin’?” He chucked Darlene under the chin and said, “Good to see you, lady boss.”

Darlene swatted his hand away and growled at him. “Next time you touch me,” she said, “you get belted across the room, then I kick your nuts so hard, you won’t ever have to worry about birth control again.”

Bert gaped at her. I’d never seen her display this kind of anger.

Bert said, “Hey, easy. I’m just being friendly.”

She glared at him.

I don’t like Bert Blaire. He doesn’t know when to stop or let things go. I wondered if Darlene might have been working up to her explosion for a while, and her upset over Kyle’s death might have triggered the response. I’d seen and heard her endure a lot from Bert. If I thought she needed my help, or asked for it, I’d be happy to lend a fist or foot to cause Bert any amount of discomfort.

Bert was hosting the annual newspaper staff bash this coming Saturday night. It was a tradition for the seniors on the paper to throw a party for the whole staff sometime during the year. Bert had offered to do all the planning. At his place it wouldn’t be just the newspaper people and their friends. He’d have a mob of athletes, rich kids, “in kids”, plus us regular schlubs from the paper.

Bert walked over to Steve, slapped him on the shoulder, and said, “How’s the stud junior gopher today?”

Steve winced, ducked his head, and stopped typing.

“Leave him alone,” I said.

“You too?” Bert asked. “Jeez, I’m just being friendly. Everybody needs to back off.”

Bert is almost as bright as Darlene. In fact our whole staff is in the top five percent of the class academically. Bert will probably get a four-year academic scholarship to some college even though he doesn’t need the money because his dad owns half of Riverside County.

Usually everybody on the newspaper gives Bert a wide birth because he’s a jerk. Compounding the dislike is the fact that he is one of Mr. Trumble’s pets.

A computer pinged with an incoming message. We all glanced at the clock. Seven twenty-two precisely. The Riverside Drone comic strip appeared in all the inboxes and in text messages. It was anonymously drawn, with lush colors and careful shading. Even better it was bitterly sarcastic about teachers, athletes, popular students, and school administrators.

Today’s strip was about a chemistry class experiment gone wrong with a supervising teacher who resembled Frankenstein’s monster. Mr. Trumble rarely let us print them, but we all looked forward to them. They were cool and funny. Bert hated them. I loved them.

Mr. Trumble is the faculty advisor for the paper. He pretty much wears the same brown pants every day. They’re all shiny so I guess he never washes them. A few times a year, when it’s really hot out, he’ll wear Bermuda shorts with black socks and sandals. He’s an old guy with white hair growing out of his ears and nostrils. In winter when it’s cool, he puts on long sleeve white shirts and sweaters. When it’s warmer, which is most of the year, he has these short sleeve beige shirts with his initials stitched on the pockets. He rarely talks above a whisper, and it’s really tedious to listen to him because he rambles so much, but he pretty much leaves us alone. All he cares about is that we don’t get him in trouble printing controversial stuff that teenagers are supposed to have never heard about, like abortion or AIDS or teen pregnancy.

The newspaper office is about twelve feet by twenty feet, so everything is pretty cramped. We’ve got a bunch of old reject computers, but some of us have laptops and wireless Internet connections. Still, Mr. Trumble watches us pretty carefully on our Internet use. We can get in a lot of trouble if we’re caught on inappropriate-for-school Web sites.

On the left as you walk in, there’s a corkboard wall that has a mock-up of the paper laid out page by page. On the other walls are huge posters from old musical plays: Hello Dolly, Man of LaMancha, Finian’s Rainbow, West Side Story, and some I’ve never heard of. We have those because Mr. Trumble is hot for old musicals. He claims he starred in a couple in college.

After we took a moment to read the strip, Darlene told Bert about Kyle Davis committing suicide.

“Who cares?” Bert threw himself into a chair. “The guy was a fag and nobody liked him.”

“Don’t say fag,” Darlene and I said at the same time.

“Will everybody leave me alone?” Bert asked. He always wore the most fashionable clothes in that casual I-don’t-really-care-how-I-look way that’s popular among people that care about that stuff. I wear mostly jeans and T-shirts myself, with my letterman’s jacket or a sweatshirt if it’s cool out. “You can’t sue me for being a hypocrite. I’m not going to get all weepy over a kid I barely knew, that nobody liked, and that nobody is going to miss.”

Darlene advanced on him and towered over him as he lounged in his chair. Through clenched teeth, she said, “We need to write a story about Kyle.”

“Don’t look at me,” Bert said.

“I wasn’t going to ask you,” Darlene said. “I’d do it myself, but I agreed to help out for two weeks on the yearbook staff, plus my usual duties here.”

Darlene always liked to help people, constantly took on more and more, and was always swamped.

She turned to me. “Roger, would you do the story?”

I wanted to protest and say no, I only did sports, but after Bert’s reaction, I could hardly refuse.

I had strong mixed feelings. I, too, thought, Kyle was gay. I was pretty confident about being gay myself, but not about being open about it. It’s not that if people associated me with Kyle that they’d think I was gay, but I wanted to be careful.

I mumbled a yes.

Ian McCord strutted in. He raised an eyebrow at me and swept a bow toward Darlene. I disliked Bert, but I hated Ian. He worked on the theater, arts, and movie news and reviews. If anybody in the school fit the stereotype of an effeminate gay male, he did. His wrists limped, he swung his hips and sashayed around campus, and he could adopt a lisp at the drop of an insult. Ian’s being effeminate wasn’t the issue. The problem was that he was a total jerk. He was overweight and proud of it, and he liked to tell us in nauseating detail about every new fad diet he tried. He thought he was funny. I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve laughed at some of the things he’s said. I just thought a lot of it was a pile of pretentious nonsense.

Ian often talked about the latest opening he’d been to in L.A. or how this or that play was so ghastly. His reviews of school plays were generally really nasty, even after Mr. Trumble toned them down.

In the realm of emotions, Ian dealt only in superlatives. He was always the tensest, saddest, gloomiest, or happiest, and he let you know which it was in great detail.

He didn’t like me, either. He thought I was a dumb jock. He kept up a string of snide innuendos, which he thought I didn’t catch. I had him figured out. On the days when I wore my oldest, most faded, and tightest jeans, he wouldn’t stop fawning over me, patting me, finding things to come over and talk to me about.

This morning Ian burbled almost incessantly about Kyle’s death, but he had few facts. That never stopped Ian. His up moods annoyed me more than his downs. Ian said, “Did you hear? They’re going to have ‘grief counselors’ in the school.”

What I got from his explanation was that a sort of swat team of psychologists, counselors, social workers, and others were descending on the school so that any kids or teachers affected by Kyle’s death could come talk to them.

“I may go so that I can get out of class,” Ian said.

“You look like you’re ready to weep with sorrow,” Darlene said.

Ian put a hand to his breast. “You wound me deeply.”

“I wish,” Darlene said.

I wanted all of them to shut up. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Kyle’s death, except gay or straight, it was sad.

Ian launched into a long-winded description of the party he went to Saturday night. Others began working. I entered my column on a computer, finished my rewrites, printed it out along with an article of mine, and added them to the cork board, and left.

 

Purchase link:

http://www.amazon.com/Safe-Mark-Zubro-ebook/dp/B00HUBW9B0/ref=zg_bs_7130633011_8

Website: http://www.markzubro.com/

 

 

Interviewing author Lynn Ames, creator of some tough, kick-ass lesbian protagonists

Lynn, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Facebook group. 

It’s my pleasure, Jon. Thanks for asking. <g>

Let’s start off with, where do you live?

I’m originally from New York, but I live in Phoenix, Arizona.

As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns…lol, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

You’re right. This is always a tough question. Do you want to narrow that down to “as an author?” If so, I would say my greatest accomplishment is being able to write what’s in my heart—to do something I love to do—and being able to make a living at it.   

Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?

I work out of my house, so it’s a long commute—all the way two doors down! You can’t believe the traffic. <g> I share my life with my two beautiful golden retrievers, Parker, who is nine, and Dixie, who is three. Parker is my Zen man. LynnAmes
And Dixie should be playing the outfield for the Yankees. She’d be less expensive than Carlos Beltran. Just sayin’…

Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines in detail?

I am a pantser from way back. I usually know three or four things that are going to happen in any book, and then the rest of it falls into place organically as I go along.

Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your lesbian-themed novels are released, and if so, what forms has it taken?

I’ve been so fortunate. My books have been well received and I haven’t gotten any backlash in terms of the fact that my protagonists are lesbian. Of course, my philosophy about such things is, “If you don’t like it, don’t read it.” In those instances where straight people have asked about my books, I disclose up front that there are lesbian characters in the book and invariably no one seems to have a problem with that. As I said, I recognize that this is not always the case, so I feel most fortunate, indeed.

Many of your plots include espionage, secret paramilitary organizations, diplomats, political officers, politicians, the U.S. President – among many others spanning the gambit of high-stakes mystery, action and adventure. Where do you get your ideas?

LOL. Well, in some cases, I’ve lived them. Not the espionage part, but I spent many years working in high level politics, so it’s a world that’s familiar to me. So I have some inside knowledge of how these worlds function, which means I also understand all too well how things can go awry. So, where the average person might read something in a newspaper or magazine or see a story on television about a current event and see only what is being presented to him/her, I see the moving parts behind the curtain and fill in the back story. Or, something will lead me to ask the question, “What if…?” Once my curiosity is aroused, I can start to imagine the plot I can create from it.

BeyondInstinct

You have written some seriously kickass lesbian mystery/thriller/suspense fiction with the Classified Series and Kate and Jay series; What was your inspiration behind creating such tough, kickass female protagonists and how do you keep them fresh?

Thank you for that! Having spent so many years in male-dominated fields where I was often the ONLY woman, I understand what it takes to stand strong and hold your ground. It requires a level of toughness and a proficiency at one’s job that goes beyond normal expectations. So I tend to imbue my characters with that level of proficiency at their jobs and with that strength and toughness. In the fields in which my characters work, in their jobs, in their lives, they are exactly who/what they need to be. Also, I want to present role models to girls/women that let them know that they can be anything at all that they want to be.

How do I keep my protagonists fresh? Like real people, the characters in a series must evolve and grow over time. That growth takes place either in their relationships, or the situations they encounter, or both. So I try to create situations, plots, and human interactions for the characters that allow them to continue to grow and evolve. As long as they are growing and evolving, they’ll stay fresh. And I really hope they learn some things along the way about life, and that the readers and I learn right along with them. 😉

In the first Kate and Jay release, The Price of Fame, protagonist Kate was outed and lost her job as a TV anchor. In the second book, The Cost of Commitment, Kate’s lover, Jamison “Jay” Parker cannot depend on her anonymity being guarded. Was any of their experiences autobiographical?  

Interesting questions. Although I did spend half a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist, I never got outed in that context. I was once threatened to be outed. That was when I held Kate’s job in The Cost of Commitment. In that same context, the person who threatened to do the outing would also have been outing my partner at the time. <g>

And here’s a bonus tidbit: The riot I describe in The Cost of Commitment really did happen. What I describe (except for the kidnapping) is a moment-by-moment accounting of a riot in which I held the position Kate holds in the book. Harrowing.

Which living actors would you cast to play your protagonists, Katherine Kyle and Jamison Parker from the Kate & Jay series?

ValueofValorBecause I think life should be about choices, I’ll give you a choice of Jennifer Lawrence, Keira Knightley, Kate Beckinsale, Angelina Jolie, or Emily Blunt for Kate, and maybe Natalie Portman for Jay. Of course, there’s always Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor, too.

Last question; can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?

My current release actually has nothing to do with thrillers or suspense. It’s a contemporary lesbian romance titled, All That Lies Within. Here’s the synopsis:

How far would you go to hide who you really are inside? And what do you do when you find the one person from whom hiding your true self isn’t an option?

Glamorous movie star Dara Thomas has it all—an Oscar nomination, dozens of magazine covers proclaiming her the sexiest woman alive, and people of both sexes clamoring for her attention. She also has a carefully guarded secret life. As Constance Darrow, Dara writes Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction, an outlet that allows her to be so much more than just a pretty face.

Rebecca Minton is a professor of American Literature in love with the work of the mysterious, reclusive author Constance Darrow, with whom she strikes up a correspondence. A chance phrase in a letter leads her to a startling conclusion about the author.

What happens next will change the course of both of their lives forever.

And my current work-in-progress is a historical romance titled, Bright Lights of Summer. It is about the heyday of women’s softball in the 1940s. That book should be out this coming summer.

On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre want to know.

Thank YOU, Jon, for the invitation, the opportunity, and for the wonderful questions.

 

Find Lynn Ames on the web:

www.lynnames.com

Friend me on Facebook (Author Lynn Ames)

Follow me on Twitter (@lynnames)

What is it like growing up in a Religious Commune? Author Lloyd A. Meeker tells us and more

Lloyd, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction facebook group. 

Let’s start off with where are you from and live now; I recently read a guest blog post where you mentioned you were born in a religious commune; what was it like growing up?

Yes, a farm in Colorado. Communal life is very much like a small village, with most of the familiar boundaries removed – centrally coordinated work, eating together, one theology, very little private space. Organic farming was a big thing for us, and growing as much of our own food as we could. Pretty radical for the late 1940’s. I went through school being “one of those people” from that weird group northwest of town.

That environment shaped me in many ways, pluses and minuses both. Few empathic children can begin training in subtle energy healing at age ten as if it were a perfectly ordinary thing to do, but I was given that incredible opportunity.

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Although I went off to college and traveled extensively, I lived my life out of the community’s worldview for the first half of my life. I’d never had any other. When I came out and left, I was in my mid-forties. I slammed into a learning curve that nearly killed me. I had very little idea how the rest of the world actually functioned. Let’s just say some dark years ensued.

While I love wild nature, I now prefer to live in a city where I can walk to most of my daily needs. It seems I’ve dropped anchor in Wilton Manors, Florida. It’s a strange feeling, to be putting down roots in a place I’ve never been particularly drawn to, but it also feels very right. And I love being warm!

As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns…lol, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment so far? 

Most of the things I feel best about in my life aren’t things I accomplished on my own. I conducted a community orchestra for eight years. I’ve been sober twice as long as I drank to escape. I’ve been cancer-free for eleven years. I’m working on my fifth novel. I can’t honestly claim I accomplished any of that on my own. Spiritually and physically, I’ve relied heavily on many allies.

I think my greatest accomplishment is that I’m happy, living a life that honors my core truths. The ancient Greeks said you could never call a man happy until he was dead, because you had to know how his life ended before you could say he’d been happy. I’ve got plenty of living to do yet and I’m far from finished as the human being I want to become, but if I died tomorrow, you could still say I was one of the happiest men on earth. I have health, love, family, challenging and meaningful creative work, friends, and plenty of books waiting to be written. All that, plus ocean breezes, sunshine and palm trees—there are hibiscus, lemons and a dozen different kinds of orchid growing on our balcony.

Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?

Sure. I’ve been with my husband Bob since 2002, married since 2007. We both came out late, Bob has three adult children from his first marriage, and I have one. All Bob’s grandchildren live in Paris, so we make an annual trip to see them.

We are very different in background and temperament. He’s an extrovert, I’m an introvert. He loves movies, and I have trouble sitting through them. I prefer watching sports, which he has little interest in. We both enjoy cooking, so we take turns. He likes using recipes, I’d rather wing it. We have a very unconventional relationship, but we fit together so well.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Only guilt-free pleasures for me! I love buskers of all kinds, especially Dixieland and Ceílí musicians; thunderstorms; clover honey on fresh cornbread slathered with butter; the way a kelp bed smells at low tide; poetry, passionately delivered aloud; an occasional dungeon scene—it sweeps away energetic cobwebs not reached by softer brooms; Lord Dunsany’s stories; Stephen Foster ballads; farmers’ markets and street fairs; Cirque du Soleil; a half-hour nap after lunch.

Can you share what inspires and challenges you most in your writing? 

The most inspiring thing for me is when I discover more meaning in a scene than I consciously put there. Something deeply true comes out in a way that is congruent with the character, possibly even essential to him, that makes new sense of some element of the story, gives it dimension that previously had been obscured. That’s pure magic to me, and beautiful.

The challenge is that I can’t make that happen. I just have to keep writing the best I know how, keeping my eyes and heart open for it, should it come. That poetic depth rings so artificial if it’s just contrived cleverness, yet it’s utterly luminous when it’s real.

You released a unique and very enjoyable mystery/thriller titled “Enigma” out from Wilde City Press, which features a rare, but refreshing non-traditional protagonist; a silver-fox private investigator. Russ Morgan also happens to be a psychic empath? What influenced you to create and feature a more mature character in a field traditionally reserved for the youthful?   

Enigma_100dpi_cvr

Thank you for saying those kind things about Enigma.

Remember in the American version of Queer as Folk when Brian turned thirty? It was an identity crisis—thirty! Doomed to see a wrinkle soon. Ewww. Old. It’s laughable!

I came out in my mid-forties, long after the culture I was just entering had dismissed my market value. To be sure, I take unabashed pleasure in the company of gorgeous young men as much as the next gay man, but I rejected my assigned market niche, which informed me daily I’d already passed my “best consumed by” date.

I’m fascinated by the many and powerful gifts that come only with age—fully engaged with examining and challenging the myths about age that a cynical, petty, frightened and narrow gay pop culture seems addicted to. It’s an especially silly, nasty and cruel form of narcissism, the way I see it. It’s a huge waste—self-defeating, in terms of developing meaningful gay culture.

I confess I have a lot of Russ Morgan in me. I’m letting him make my argument that life really does get better—and much more interesting—after fifty and beyond.

Do you have plans for a sequel to “Enigma” and will gay P.I. Russ Morgan appear again?

Absolutely—I’m working on the next story now. I think Russ has a series in him, and Colorado is a rich setting for his stories—just look at what’s in the news there now—cannabis, gun control, cultural schisms between urban and rural, conservative and liberal. My mouth waters just thinking of the possibilities!

Incidentally, in the book I’m working on now, Russ’ own set attitudes toward age are challenged, because Colin (who is twenty-five and definitely not a self-absorbed twink) won’t leave him alone, and insists on being taken seriously as a relationship prospect. That’s very scary territory for Russ.

TravelingLight

You have also published a very mystical mystery/thriller novel, Traveling Light, released by MLR Press, Inc. The plot of the story combines both the earthy visible world with the spirit realm as protagonist, Ian, uses his shamanic abilities to track down his brother’s killer. I sense an overarching lesson to be learned; can you share more of the premise with us?   

Gladly! My favorite soapbox theme.

The overarching vision I write from is that the visible and invisible worlds are distinct but not separate. They interact all the time, and depend on each other to reveal their deepest beauty. They need each other like we need air to breathe, like music must be heard to be shared.

I’m convinced gay men are perfectly suited to accommodate this interplay consciously, to be stewards of that mystical inter-dependence, the passages of giving and taking between the realms. All my stories are grown out of this premise, because it’s the way I experience life.

Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your gay novels are released, and if so, what form has it taken?

Not really, but some conversations have ended abruptly when I say I write mystical gay fiction. I don’t care. Given some of the things I’ve survived, I’ve accepted that I’m on bonus time. Whatever time I have left is way too precious to spend caring about what people like that think of me and my work.

Which living actor would you cast to play your protagonist, Russ Morgan, in your P.I novella, “Enigma”?

Ed Harris, but not his overly gaunt version. Yes, give me Ed Harris. Please give him to me!

Last question; I read recently that you’ll be teaching an online class through Florida Romance Writers on some of the differences in the Hero’s Journey for a gay protagonist. Do you have more details you can share at this time?

Not really, because it happens in October and I haven’t finalized my materials yet. I’ve been obsessed with the Hero’s Journey for decades. When I first realized there was a heteronormative overlay to the myth’s structure, I was offended. Then I realized, hey—straight people have their version, and we need ours. It’s incredibly exciting to explore the similarities as well as the differences.

On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre want to know.

 

Find Lloyd A. Meeker on the web:

www.lloydmeeker.com