John Inman Discusses His Lammy Nominated Gay Horror novel, The Boys On The Mountain

Author John Inman answers a few questions about his gay horror, ghost story, The Boys On The Mountain

Jim Brandon has a new house, and boy, is it a pip. Built high on the side of the San Diego mountains by a legendary B-movie actor of the 1930s, Nigel Letters, the house is not only gorgeous, but supposedly haunted. As a writer of horror novels, Jim couldn’t be happier.

But after a string of ghostly events sets Jim’s teeth on edge and scares the bejesus out of his dog, Jim begins to dig into the house’s history. What he finds is enough to creep out anybody. Even Jim. It seems long dead Nigel Letters had a few nasty habits back in his day. And unhappily for Jim, the old bastard still has some tricks up his sleeve.

As Jim welcomes his ex, Michael, and a bevy of old friends for a two-week visit to help christen the new house, he soon realizes his old friends aren’t the only visitors who have come to call.

1.  How did you come up with the idea for THE BOYS ON THE MOUNTAIN?
I once rented a home in San Diego that was built by character actor Victor Buono.  He reportedly built it for his parents, but I can’t verify that.  Anyway, it was a great old house.  Beautiful.  Every closet was a walk-in.  The fireplace in the living room was gorgeous.  Rounded ceilings, the whole nine yards.  It even had a teeny tiny door in the back for the days when milk was delivered to the house by the neighborhood milkman. All the time I lived there I used to wonder about the many people who had lived in the house before me, whether they left traces of themselves behind.  While I never saw a ghost in the house, I did manage to creep myself out more than once.  Imagining sounds and all that.  It was during this time that I got the idea of writing a book about an actor who was also a serial killer, natch.  Living in a spooky old house built by an old-time actor, why wouldn’t I?  While I’m pretty sure Victor Buono never offed anybody, the simple fact that I was living in a place with ties to Hollywood, however tenuous, was enough to get the old creative juices flowing.
 By the time I had finished writing the book, there was so much sex and violence in the story, I never really thought I would be able to find a publisher for it.  Of course, at that time in my life, I wasn’t having much luck finding a publisher for anything else I wrote either.  Then along came Dreamspinner Press.  While DSP bought this story almost five years ago, it was always made clear that they wouldn’t release it until the new imprint (which later became DSP Publications) came online, since BOYS isn’t actually a romance, as all DSP books are required to be.  And I have to say, they were right.  DSP Publications turned out to be a perfect home for it.  I couldn’t be happier.
2.  Were you surprised when BOYS was declared a finalist at the Lambda Literary Awards?
“Surprised” doesn’t quite cover it.  I was flabbergasted.  The fact that Elizabeth North had enough faith in the book to submit it to the Lammies at all was a gift I’ll never forget.  Then to actually come up a finalist — geez, I couldn’t believe it.  Out of almost a hundred books in my genre?  It was incredible.  My husband and I have our tickets by the way.  Airfare to NYC, hotel rooms booked, we’re ready to go. We wouldn’t miss the awards show for the world.  I know winning is a long shot, but I figure I have as much chance as anyone else.  And it really is true when people say they are just honored to be among the finalists.  That’s exactly how I feel.  I know what I’m up against.  I’ve read a couple of the books in my category of SciFi/Horror and they are damn good books.  It really is humbling to find BOYS standing there among them.
3.  Okay, I guess I have to ask this.  Do you believe in ghosts?
LOL.  I knew that was going to come up.  Okay, I’ll tell you the truth.  Uh…..yes.  I do.  When I was a kid I saw my grandfather, whom I was extremely close to, standing at the foot of my bed in the middle of the night a week after he passed away.  Later in my life, when I was in my early twenties, my brother was killed in a freak accident.  A horrible experience.  My mother had a nervous breakdown over it.  Anyway, one night I dreamed of him.  He was sitting on the bank of a lake fishing, just like we used to do when he was alive.  In the middle of the dream, he turned to me and said,  “Tell mom I’m happy.”  I still get goosebumps thinking about it.  So after I hemmed and hawed over it for a while, afraid maybe relaying my dream would make my mom suffer even more, I finally built up my courage and told her what my brother had said.  And you know what?  It helped her.  I know both those instances might have come about because of wishful thinking on my part.  Or simple imagination.  Or whatever.  But they still ring true in my mind.  So yes, I have to say I do believe in ghosts.

Just in time for Halloween: An Excerpt from A Demon Inside by Rick R. Reed

An Excerpt from A Demon Inside

by Rick R. Reed


© 2015 by Rick R. Reed

BLURB Hunter Beaumont doesn’t understand his grandmother’s deathbed wish: “Destroy Beaumont House.” He’s never even heard of the place. But after his grandmother passes and his first love betrays him, the family house in the Wisconsin woods looks like a tempting refuge. Going against his grandmother’s wishes, Hunter flees to Beaumont House.

But will the house be the sanctuary he had hoped for? Soon after moving in, Hunter realizes he may not be alone. And with whom—or what—he shares the house may plunge him into a nightmare from which he may never escape. Sparks fly when he meets his handsome neighbor, Michael Burt, a caretaker for the estate next door. The man might be his salvation… or he could be the source of Hunter’s terror


I walk to the stairway and look up. Up there, he lies asleep. I mount the steps slowly, knowing exactly where each one creaks. I avoid those places, wanting to be as silent as the night. Darkness and cold are almost palpable things pressed against my spine. Soon he will feel my blackness surrounding him, enfolding him in a blanket of rotting stench, a coverlet of cold.

Hunter lay asleep, the book open across his steadily rising and falling chest, his mouth open in a snore.

The light beside the bed was still on, but soon enough the dull illumination flickered… and died. Hunter turned in his sleep, and the book toppled to the floor. The sound it made roused him, and he opened his eyes to darkness. He sat up.

The first thing he noticed was the smell. Distant but growing, the odor was unmistakable—it was the same as last night. Hunter shuddered, slumped down in bed, and pulled the covers over his head. Underneath the blanket he had already begun to quake and shiver. The near suffocating warmth of the goose down comforter was no match for the chills and shivers pulsing through him. Hunter closed his eyes, praying the smell wasn’t the preamble to a repeat of the night before.

He curled into a tight ball, fetal, as he heard the creak of his bedroom door opening. He squeezed his eyes together and listened as the bottom of the door whispered across the wood floor, followed by the sound of a footstep. Hunter stuck his thumb in his mouth, something he hadn’t done since he’d been a small boy, barely aware he was doing it.

Another footstep. Hunter could swear the feet sounded wet, as if they’d come from a marsh. There was a soft squishing sound.


A whispering voice, raspy, cut through the darkness, distinct. Hunter tightened all his muscles and whimpered.

“Hunter.” There was warm, throaty laughter.

Slowly the blanket covering him began to move down. Hunter lay frozen, paralyzed. He felt the cold night air rush over him as the warmth was drawn away. The comforter continued to move downward, almost of its own accord, until Hunter lay exposed and shivering.

The laughter came again, almost a croaking. Hunter sucked in his breath, his heart thundering in his chest. In spite of the icy air in the house, his face was slick with sweat. Hunter didn’t want to breathe. Each inhalation forced him to take in a stench so powerful it coated his lungs in wetness and decay.

Hunter dared to open his eyes. Above him loomed… nothing. The darkness of the room was complete. Although he was certain he hadn’t done it, the heavy draperies had been drawn across all his windows, shutting out the moonlight. All Hunter saw was darkness so complete he felt he could reach out and touch it, scoop it up by the handful.


A_Demon_Inside_Final copy

The voice continued to whisper his name, teasing. He couldn’t place where the voice emanated.

“I’ve come to see you again tonight.”

Hunter rolled onto his side, pulling his hands up over his ears. He could feel a weird sense of calm course through him as his terror began to morph into a peculiar numbness. Was this what going into shock felt like? Hunter pushed himself to speak, whispering the words into the pitch. “Who are you? What do you want?”

The response was a booming laugh that made him want to scream.

“I want you, of course. You, Hunter.”

“Get out of here!” Hunter at last shrieked. All sorts of thoughts came to him at once, the most prominent being that Michael Burt, no matter how clever, how deranged, how evil, could not be responsible for this. If anything, this was hysteria, Hunter’s own mind luring him into madness, causing hallucinations, trying to scare him away from the house for a reason he could not fathom.

It felt like the thing in his room—and he still couldn’t see anything but darkness—was pure, unadulterated evil. This last thought was preposterous, wasn’t it? Thinking like that surely was insane.

Hunter swallowed and tried to reach deep down within himself to find some reserves of courage he wasn’t even sure he possessed. But if he didn’t fight back, this thing—whoever or whatever it was—would win and would oust him. And if there was one thing he was sure of, it was that this thing wanted him out.

But this was his home, and he was not going to be forced out by a few bumps in the night. He sat up slowly as he allowed his terror to turn to rage. Even though he had the unshakeable and deeply disquieting fear that someone was there in the room with him, someone who meant him great harm, he forced himself to get up from his bed and shout, “Get the hell out of here. This is mine. Do you understand? Mine!”

Hunter had to cover his ears, sinking to his knees as the room filled with screams, sighs, groans, and laughter. All of it deep and penetrating, all of it at a roaring, ear-splitting volume, degenerating finally into a cacophony of voices, all speaking it once, unintelligible.

Hunter had no words left. He slumped to the floor and simply screamed. He trembled, falling forward and covering his head with his hands.

The room went silent.

And then the laughter began again, softly at first, hardly above a whisper.

“Hunter. I’m going to fuck you. Just wait.”

Hunter dragged himself to the bedside table, groped upward, and switched on the lamp.

The room was empty.

Hunter pulled himself up and moved to the mirror above the dresser. His face was completely white, eyes bulging slightly. Panting, he watched as the color slowly seeped back into his face. He reached out and touched his reflected image and then jerked his hand away from the icy glass. He touched his face, noting it was almost as cold as the glass. He looked deep into his own eyes, staring into the blackness of the pupil, trying to peer into that darkness, to see if somewhere inside lay the answer to his terror.

Completely unbidden, a tear fell, followed by three more. Hunter sniffed and forced himself to stop. He pulled the draperies open. To his dark-adapted eyes, the room filled with silver moonlight, almost day-bright.

And it was empty.



Rick R. Reed Biography Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.” Web:  Blog: Facebook: Twitter: E-mail:



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Amazon ebook

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Interviewing the Talented, Multi-Genre Author of Sunset Lake; John Inman


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

I’m thrilled to be here.  Thanks for having me.

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

I live in beautiful San Diego, home of the 2015 GayRomLit get-together in October!  Woohoo!  There are so many people I want to meet I can’t wait.  This will be my first writer’s convention.  I’m a little nervous but it should be a lot of fun.


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

I’m married.  My husband’s name is John too.  We’ve been together for ten years and married for two and we live in the South Park section of the city.  We have two cats, Max and Leo, who think they own the place.  For exercise I walk about 10 miles a day and for fun I read, watch movies, and piddle around in the yard.  That’s about it.  Oh, and we take in as many stage shows as we can.   For my birthday last month, John took me to see a production of Cabaret.  It was great.

I’ve read somewhere that you only recently began submitting your writing for publication; How long have you been writing and why did it take you so long to submit to publishers?  —

That’s not quite accurate.  I’ve  been writing fiction since I was a kid.  I spent my whole life submitting stuff to publishers and never got my foot in the door anywhere.  It was only after I ran across the website for Dreamspinner Press, and after I got to know the wonderful Elizabeth North, who runs the place, that I ever received an acceptance letter.   I was sixty before I sold my first book.  Since then, I think I just signed my 24th contract, or thereabouts.  I write fast even if I did get off to a slow start.  It just goes to show, you should never give up.

Do you get to write full-time or are you maintaining an evil day job?—-

I’m retired so I’m one of the lucky few who can write full time.  I usually crank out 3 or 4 hours at the computer every morning pecking away at whatever story I’m working on at the time then I go back to it several times during the course of the day.  When I’m in the middle of a story I don’t think of much of anything else.  The other John seems to understand and stays the hell out of my way. Poor guy. Right now I’m just finishing up a romantic thriller titled, MY BUSBOY.  I should have it off to DSP in a couple of weeks.  Don’t know what I’ll work on next.  Maybe another comedy.


Is A Hard Winter Rain your first novel? Can you share a little of where you got your inspiration for the story and how long it took you to write it?—-

Rain wasn’t my first novel, but it was up there.  When I wrote Rain I was still working so it took me longer to finish. Don’t remember how long exactly.  Almost a year, I think, since I was working and didn’t have a lot of time to write, plus Rain is longer than a lot of the other novels.  It’s still a favorite of mine though.  I was so thrilled when DSP picked it up.  It was one of the first ones they bought.  I walked on air for a week after that.  I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the greatest thrill of my life, bar none.  As for inspiration, I was a hairdresser for forty years and I wanted to write something about a character in that field.  I’m not as butch as the guy in the book, but I was able to draw on a lot of stuff knowing the business the way I did.  I remember also being excited about incorporating the weather into that story.  We had just had a rainy winter in San Diego and I thought the storms would make a great backdrop for a thriller.

You’re known in much of your writing for comic flair, including in stories with a gay mystery/thriller theme, such as Hobbled and Spirit. Is it important to you to include some humor in your writing?—-

I don’t know how important it is, all I know is I seem to do it.  I can’t help myself.  I think every good piece of fiction needs a little humor to lighten the load of a heavy story.  Sometimes I know I go a little overboard — haha — but like I said, I can’t seem to help myself.  I try to write what I like to read, and since I like to read humor, that’s what I do.

I read an interview you did with author Carole Cummings where she described you as DSP Publication’s “answer to Stephen King” – that’s a very impressive compliment. Have you always had a special place in your heart for horror?—-

I almost fell off my chair when I saw she had written that.  First of all, because he’s one of my idols, and second of all because I would never compare myself to Stephen King.  In my opinion, as far as horror goes, nobody matches the King.  Just being mentioned in the same sentence with him was enough to make me swoon.  Do 65-year-old gay men swoon?  I don’t know.  Maybe it was just a stroke.


You write in many genres; M/M Romance, Horror, Mystery/Thriller, all very well received from your fans. Do you feel you have different fans per sub-genre, or do they cross over?—-  

I had never really thought about it.  I do know some of my loyal readers that I’ve gotten to know tell me they prefer comedy or romance, and sometimes those are the ones who aren’t too crazy about horror.  But like I said before, I strive to write what I like to read, and I pretty much like to read everything.  With every new book I write I try to shoot for something different than what I’ve written before.  That’s why I never thought I’d ever write a series.  I thought I would be too bored.  Fooled me.  Somehow when I did Serenading Stanley, I fell in love with the characters so much I had to bring them back.  The third Belladonna Arms book comes out August 17th and I’m already thinking about a fourth. So never say never.

Where do you get your ideas for a story; tell us about how you can up with your latest release “Sunset Lake”?—-

Sunset Lake is the closest thing to autobiographical that I’ve ever written.  I don’t mean the plot — I haven’t killed any little old ladies, I swear — but I mean as far as the setting goes.  Nine Mile may not really exist but it is absolutely a dead ringer for the little farming community where I grew up in Indiana.  A lot of the characters in the story are people I knew growing up as well.  Mrs. Shanahan for instance, lived on an adjoining farm.  The lady who died at her piano in the story was actually a maiden aunt of mine and she really did sit in the closet with a cat on her lap during thunderstorms.  Sunset Lake was a stripper pit that everyone used to swim in and it was just as beautiful as the one in the story.  There’s a lot of me in that story.  A lot of the way I grew up, a lot of the morals I still believe in.  I don’t think anyone comes from a farming community like that but that it leaves a mark on you, and over all I think the marks are an asset to the person you become in later life.  There’s a lot of love to be found in an environment like that.  A lot of honesty.  A lot of goodness.  It’s a healthy way to grow up.  Which doesn’t really explain why I decided to kill them all in my book.


And as for horror having a special place in my heart?  You bet.  I love writing horror.  There are no constraints when you’re writing horror.  Anything goes.  You can steer your reader anywhere your imagination wants to take him without any boundaries of reality to stand in your way.  It’s fun trying to scare that person out there holding your book in the middle of the night, all alone with nothing but your words to keep them company.  I like the spooky, gory stuff.   I like it in movies and I like it in the books I read.  For me, there’s nothing remotely resembling work about writing a horror story.  It’s just plain fun.

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

The novel I’m just finishing up, MY BUSBOY — I have one scene left to write and then some editing — is a love story between a well-known writer and a busboy he meets at his favorite neighborhood restaurant.  As most of my stories do, it takes place in San Diego.  For conflict, we have a crazy ass stalker who’s driving the writer nuts, and before the story is over the stalker goes off the deep end and becomes truly dangerous.  You have to watch those fans, haha, you never know what they’re going to do.  I’m pleased with the way the story is ending up.  In fact, I just wrote most of the big “battle” scene this morning over a pot and a half of coffee.  I’ll probably have to tone it down a little bit after the caffeine wears off.  This is one of those novels, unlike A Hard Winter Rain, where the romantic part of the story takes center stage.  It’s a very sweet book, I think.  Even with all the action at the end.  I hope people will like it.

On behalf of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Facebook Group, thank you so much for sharing your time with us and answering questions fans of the genre would like to know.—-

I’m really honored that you asked me.  I hope we can do it again some time.  It’s been a lot of fun.

Find John Inman on the web:




Dreamspinner Press


My Interview This Week is a Stylist of Diverse,Gay Literary Fiction – Author Anel Viz

My guest interview this week is Anel Viz, author of many diverse literary fiction, by his own admission claims, “As a writer, I am first and foremost a stylist. I agonize over finding the right word…”

Where do you live? City, town, island, country?

Anel VizI’m planning to move to Minneapolis in the next year or so, but for now I own a home half block away from the Mississippi River (but I can’t see it because the hospital is in the way) in small city in the center of Minnesota.  Although here in the Upper Midwest most people would probably describe it as medium size, it still has a small town feel to it.  Still, the population has more than doubled since I moved here some 38 years ago.  Mind you, now, where I live has just about zero connection with who I am.  I grew up in New York City (Bronx, Queens, Manhattan) and have lived over one-fifth of my life in French-speaking countries, mostly France itself, half a block away from the Mediterranean with a clear view of it from my balcony.

Writer’s rarely like to toot their own horn; seriously! What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

Tell me about it.  I totally suck at promo, and I mean that literally.  (I mean the “totally”—“suck” is a figure of speech.)  So I will take your statement as a challenge and toot away. My greatest accomplishment?  Hasn’t happened yet.  That would be having someone not merely review one my books (something that doesn’t happen a lot to begin with) but write an essay about it or about my work as a whole—real, honest-to-goodness literary analysis à la  “Graves of Academe”.  (Yep, I’m one of those, by training and profession.)  Of course it will be a cold day in hell before that happens, so I’ll take advantage of your invitation and do a little literary self-analysis. Please don’t stop reading.  Let me explain.  I’m a writer of gay-themed fiction who aspires to be a literary mainstream author but lacks either the talent, the experience, or both.  I fully realize that, like “liberal” (and just as undeservedly), “literary” has acquired pejorative connotations in some circles.  If a book is boring, flowery or pretentious they call it literary.  That, however, is pseudo-literary.  Lord knows my books have been slammed, especially on Goodreads, but to the best of my knowledge nobody has ever called them boring, flowery or pretentious.  A truly literary work is beautifully written, meaty, and makes you think.  Now, there is no reason a gay romance can’t be literary, but let’s face it—most of ’em ain’t.  There’s no lack of great gay poetry, and I can think of a number of excellent gay-themed novels (Mary Renault and Alan Hollinghurst immediately come to mind) and a few classics with gay subtexts (Gide, Musil, Wilde, etc.), but off hand only three in-your-face gay novels I’d call masterpieces.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were more? Bet everyone’s wondering what those three in-your-face gay masterpieces are.  Jean Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers, Marguerite Yourcenar’s Hadrian’s Memoirs, and Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman.  Just my opinion, of course.

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

My wife and I separated 23½ years ago but we’re still legally married.  Why (both why we split and why we haven’t divorced) would be getting too personal.  We have two grown (but not grown up) sons.  I’ve been with my only ever boyfriend (not telling his name) for ten years, and he moved in with me four years ago.  He’s been divorced twice, has a son plus three step-children, and is the reason I insist that “gay for so-and-so” really does exist.  (Pace, ye naysayers.)  We got our current dog (Steve—his name you can know) two and a half years ago.  I’ve always had dogs.  Anything else?  Oh, yeah.  “Only ever boyfriend” emphatically does not mean only ever male sex partner.  Going into more detail on that one would be getting too personal and might even result in FB closing down your group.

Where do you write?

Here, at my laptop in front of the living room window, with a six-story brick hospital blocking my view of the river.

What inspires and challenges you most in writing?

The craft.  As a writer, I am first and foremost a stylist.  I agonize over finding the right word; I read every paragraph aloud to make sure it flows; I endlessly tweak the narrator’s voice; I make use of and develop recurring motifs and fret about their placement; I strive to come up with realistic dialogue while making every word count; I’m always asking my betas if I’m belaboring a point or sound preachy; I work and rework the arc of the story, putting in glimpses of what will happen later (in the words of one reviewer “just enough to tweak your curiosity but not give anything”) as well as surprising twists that in the words of another “seem inevitable in hindsight.” Yet for me the greatest challenge by far is creating authentic, multi-dimensional characters.  I write psychological fiction.  (Literary fiction I only aim at; psychological fiction I actually do write.)  In order to make my characters real, I make them the product of their culture (not the reader’s culture), individuate them (the stereotypes in the Kaleidoscope story Roomies only play at being types), and take pains to tell the reader less about them than s/he needs to know.  As I say in the preface to Kaleidoscope, “Every human mind is unique, a jumble of ever-changing ideas, assumptions, emotions, desires, conflicts, intentions, certainties, doubts and, yes, fears; a personality too complex to be seen as a whole. We never truly know another person; we do not truly understand ourselves.”  Let me add to that that no amount of therapy, psychoanalysis or blinding flashes of epiphany will ever reveal the totality of any person’s unconscious thoughts or subconscious.  Real people do not conform exactly to textbook definitions, nor does any psychological study, however exhaustive, lay out a complete person.  So when I come across a neat explanation of a character’s motivations in a work of fiction, that character immediately loses some depth.  When an author tells me exactly what makes his or her tick, they flatten out entirely.  There are some things even an omniscient narrator cannot know.

You’ve probably answered this question a hundred times, but please indulge as our readers (and fellow writers) want to know: Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines?

TheCityofLovelyBrothersBoth and neither.  With shorter stories, I often (but not always) get an idea, start at the beginning and write straight through, plotting by the seat of my pants.  For longer stories, novellas and novels, I start with characters in a situation and work out from there in both directions but not chronologically and still undecided which, if any, of those characters will be my protagonist.  By the time I’m about half done, certainly by the time the work is 80% finished, I have a fairly good idea of a more or less complete plot, but well before figured out what that plot is going to be, I had carefully worked out the arc and structure of the story line.  I know the pacing of my books before I know everything that’s going to happen in them or how they will end. For example, in City of Lovely Brothers, I decided on a four part structure within a narrative frame and having the historian-narrator introduce each part in the first person, and that the four parts would be Caliban’s from birth until he fractures his hip, from Caliban’s return to the ranch until Nick moves in with him, Caliban’s and Nick’s life together on the ranch, and the fourth after they leave the ranch—all that before I knew exactly what would happen in any of the parts except for the sections scattered around the novel that I had already written, before I got the idea for many of the crucial secondary characters, including Amanda, Hester, Calvin Jr., Jake, Logan, and Troilus Pardoner, to name a few.  But you want to know about my thrillers and suspense, not my historicals. So your answer is: Yes, I do plot, but I don’t plot plot.  And I’m most “seat of my pants-like” when it comes to my characters, which I never plan.  I delve into them and discover what’s there.

How do you deal with the constant distractions such as blogs, FB, promo and real life (like that dreaded daytime job)? I don’t.  I retired a little over a year ago, I’ve already said I suck at promo, my blog is moribund, and FB sends me into sensory overload, causing my brain to shut down.

You have proven yourself a master and many genres, including Drama, Thriller and Suspense. How do you prepare shifting your muse to tackle a new genre?

You left out historical and humor (for two), and I’ve written more of each of those than the three you mention put together.  Thing is, though, I don’t think in terms of genre except insofar as I’m a genre bender.  Why worry about shifting my muse when my muse is going to shift the genre? I love to toy with my readers and to do it in subtle ways so they don’t realize I’m constantly playing push-the-genre-envelope games.  Here’s an example I don’t believe anyone has picked up on.  One of the so-called challenges of first person narrator romance is how to work in a description of the main character.  The cliché solution is to have him look in a mirror.  In P’tit Cadeau, which is on my mind because I read an excerpt from it at GRL, the narrator is an artist and I describe most of his paintings in elaborate detail with particular focus on color.  In the course of the novel, he does a self-portrait.  I give the composition, the setting, how he’s posed, what he (isn’t) wearing, etc., but not a word about what he looks like.  No eye color, no haircut, no complexion, no toothy smile, no shoe size—nada.  In the end, the only physical attributes we know for sure are his age, that he’s circumcised, and what little we can infer about his build from how he fits together with his model and lover, whom I describe repeatedly.  But here I am again, going on and on about a genre other than the one this interview is supposedly about.  On the other hand, given the mind games I like to play, is it any wonder I’m drawn to drama, thriller and suspense?  (Make that non-traditional drama, thriller and suspense.)

Horror,Dark&LiteHorror Dark&Lite 2 400x600

With Horror, Dark & Lite, the two-volume parallel structure preceded all the stories in them except for the first and last.  I got the rights back to two of my earliest publications that had appeared in multi-author anthologies—a scary vampire novella and a comic shifter short story—that I wanted to revise and re-release.   Both of them already pushed the genre envelope: a first person narrator who doesn’t know what his own story is about (to wit that his lover is a werewolf) and a vampire story without vampires.  (By the way, The Frenchman, a free read accessible in the archives of Wilde Oats online magazine, is a shifter story with no shifters in it.) All seven stories in the horror collection twist their traditional genre in a different way.  Val uses vampirism as a metaphor for obsession and domination in a piling up of graphic sex scenes parallel to what is going on in the characters’ lives outside of the bedroom.  On the surface, the surfeit of non-stop sex seems gratuitous, but as one reviewer pointed out when they finally “come up for air, their lives have been irrevocably changed” so clearly it does advance the plot. Slasher resembles Photographic Memories in my Kaleidoscope anthology in that it is best described as a non-whodunit except in this case they catch the perp.  I throw in enough red herrings along the way to open a seafood restaurant, including some that cast suspicion on one of the main characters a couple of pages after a scene that provides him a watertight alibi.  On top of that, it contains a handful of episodes that are variants of scenes from my favorite scary movies. The Matador is an historical novella that gradually moves from realistic social commentary to paranormal shifter, then back and forth between the two, so structurally the work itself is a shifter.  As vampirism is a sexual metaphor in Val, bullfighting works allegorically in The Matador: Goading the bull is a kind of foreplay, goring stands in for anal intercourse, the estocada a muerte for orgasm, etc.  And vice versa.  So one can’t call it a metaphor because which element is the image and which the reality are constantly shifting. Similarly, each story in the “lite” volume draws on a different type of comedy.

KaleidoscropeYou have published Anthologies and short story collections; including the suspense/thriller horror anthologies, Dark Horror and Horror Lite. Which of the stories in the collections frightened you the most and why? (I’ve read Slasher, which opens at a helluva pace – what could be scarier than a brutal murder in a gay bathhouse!)

This interview.  (Just kidding, though it wouldn’t surprise me if all this literary self-analysis has scared most of your readers away.) None of the “lite” stories are scary.  The part in the vampire story where the Viet Bloedrank returns to the hotel room after feeding comes closest, but there’s no real feeling of threat, in my opinion.  The stalker story has plenty of creepy moments, but that’s all they are—creepy.  In the dark volume, Slasher has the highest concentration of scary scenes, one of which you mention.  A sensation of dread permeates the opening, although no one is in immediate danger.  But for the reader, I think the dark alley with the cloned vampiric hustlers lurking in the shadows in Val (although that scene has its origin in a tongue-in-cheek bit of wordplay) or when Soledad encounters the bull in a deserted street in The Matador are more frightening.  Or the scene in The Matador where…  But that would be a spoiler. Curiously, what was most frightening for me would be the least frightening of them all to read: Bryce Olson is Pregnant, the aliens story in Horror Lite.  Once I was working on it, jumping from scene to scene in random order as usual, the writing process terrified me because I had no idea how I was going to end it right up until I wrote the ending.  It had become apparent that the ending had to be the punch line, but, while I was sticking jokes in right and left, I wasn’t sure what the joke was.  How’s that for seat-of-your-pants writing?

After your book(s) come out, have had you ever had to deal with homophobia, and if so, what form has it taken?

No, never.  But very few people know that I’m Anel Viz, and Anel Viz only surfaces as a living, breathing person at conventions like GRL.  And when he’s just a virtual author noodling around on line, he pays as little attention to personal homophobic attacks as he does to negative trolling reviews on Goodreads.

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 really want to know.

My pleasure, and I hope I haven’t overstepped the boundaries of self-promotion in the process.

Alma's WillLast question; will you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP? Huh?  You’re asking for more horn tooting?  Okay, here goes.  I have too many Ws IP to count, so I’ll push my most recent release (last May), which finally came out in print a month ago, is a Rainbow Award finalist, and you yourself generously and enthusiastically reviewed on Alan Chin’s Gay/Lesbian Fiction Book Reviews blog, for which I thank you again. We’ve all heard some readers complain about a book because they don’t like the main character.  Well, the main character in Alma’s Will is a homophobic woman with no redeeming qualities I can think of off-hand.  Livia Redding was one of those characters who take over a story that wasn’t meant to be hers, and I rank her as one of my most vivid, real and complex creations.  She’s is the kind of person you “have to” feel sorry for but don’t because she’s so vicious.  But while the gay characters in the book have been hurt by bigotry and their wounds have not entirely healed, at most Liv’s homophobia complicates their lives, pisses them off and upsets them.  Although a generation earlier her interference would have been devastating, in spite all her bad-mouthing and machinations, she inflicts no real damage.  The gays are the survivors; Liv is the victim, destroyed by her own hatred and used by the fundamentalist Christians who don’t give a damn about her and only adopt her to further their cause.  In the end she learns nothing except her own powerlessness, which makes her no less dangerous as a source of contagion.  Unfortunately, there are plenty more like her. (Can I go now?)

Where on the web to find Anel Viz:

The Blue Moon Café is a horror/mystery/thriller Novel sure to pull you in and not let go!!

Reviewed by Jon MichaelsenBlueMoonCafe

The Blue Moon Cafe


Rick R. Reed

Review by Jon Michaelsen

I usually listen to audio books (the unabridged versions); via headphones traveling on hours long plane rides or driving long trips alone. So, when a book I had my eye on was released in audio book format, I decided to take a chance to listen while in my car – which proved to quite often as I found myself finding places to go, errands needing done so I could listen to Rick R. Reed’s suspenseful, romantic thriller, The Blue Moon Café.

Taken from the blurb for both print and audio format, “Someone–or something–is killing Seattle’s gay men.” Something moves in the dark night at full moon hunting and killing gay men in the places they gather. The protagonist is Thad Matthews, a young gay man done with relationships and certainly not ready–or even willing–to take yet another dive for his perfect dream that presents in the form of a sexy, super compassionate, masculine, hairy and handsome Caecilian restaurant owner and chef, Sam Lupino.

Reed begins The Blue Moon Café with his signature terror/horror prose he is well-known for delivering, quickly ensnaring the reader–or listener in my case–with heart-racing, pulsating suspense. Vivid detail and full-moon-lit scenery ratchets up anticipation pushing the listener forward, sans trepidation. Reed tempers the heightened elements of the novel with a strong romance that provides a little distraction from the bloody killings.

Thad Matthews is unemployed and without purpose. He is every guy’s friend, the boy-next-door type you’d introduce to mother, a best friend always there to support you, even if having to take a back seat. Along with his domineering Chihuahua, Edith (don’t let the docile name fool you!), Thad fills his days looking for a new job, taking care of his neurotic friend, and pining about lost love. Edith, however, comes to the rescue in more ways than one, quickly proving dogs are excellent judges of character and man’s best friend.

Thad treats himself to a night out, which he can’t afford of course, in hopes of finding someone to spend the night with. Thad dresses to notice and sets out for The Blue Moon Café, where he meets the manly, macho, Sam Lupino.
Not only the owner and chef of The Blue Moon Café, Sam happens to be a werewolf in a family of werewolves. He becomes seduced by Thad’s naive charm, but once drawn to the young man, trouble beings. After a night of hot and heavy love-making, Sam leaves a goodbye note and disappears from Thad’s life. But, not for long as Thad can’t seem to stay away from the mysterious man who tells lies and holds secrets that prey on his insecurities.

I can’t divulge more of the story without ruining the mystery behind the killers, the betraying Thad and Sam both feel at different times throughout their rocky relationship. What I can share, is listening to the audio book version, the voice of narrator Topher Samuels is soothing, calming when he needs to be and ratcheting up the suspense with inflection that makes the reader “feel” as if we’re there, staring down the beast with yellow eyes, or making love to a most compassionate man with a wounded soul.

The Blue Moon Café is a horror/mystery/thriller and gay romance that will pull you in, scare the crap out of you and have you rooting for the unlikely relationship between human and werewolf. Non-traditional in that it strays from the modern-day romantic epics and ends with a surprise that just might break your heart.

Author S.D. Grady offers up this Halloween’s treat…or trick?

Continuing with my Halloween guests dropping in the to sit a spell, please welcome author, S.D. Grady – whose current release, The Silver Scream, also appears in the dark fantasy – print anthology Gremlins – from loveyoudivine. 

Looking for Gremlins with S.D. Grady
Most of the time I’m a pretty romantic creature.  I love a good fairy tale.  My stories are often filled with silk gowns, glittering chandeliers and true love found.
So then, where did such a tale as “The Silver Scream” come from?
Well, one of my favorite TV shows as a kid was Alfred Hitchcock.  You never knew what kind of tale might come from the darkness.  It might be funny, frightening and even contain a bit of a fairy tale.  But I knew each week I would be watching and experiencing that familiar flutter of the stomach…the bit of suspense…the need to see beyond the black corner and face the monster.       

The Silver Scream
The Silver Scream

I am fortunate in that I live in New England.  Halloween is decorated by Mother Nature each and every year.  The yards and streets are carpeting in a blanket of dead leaves.  They crunch under your feet, sending that crisp, unmistakable scent into the air.  The historic graveyards enjoy the autumn sun, only to descend into creepy shadows once the moon rises.  If you ever needed inspiration for a setting for a scary story, New England is the place to come.
Every town center is graced by a white, steepled church several hundred years old…perhaps, the pointed steeples mean to chase those things that linger on the edge of our imaginations back to where they belong.
And then there are the business sections of town.  Often they are the direct descendents of the Industrial Revolution.  Brick buildings line the street, empty shop windows next to newer ones.  You look up and see the love and care the artisans of the 19th Century took in placing each brick.  Arched windows, granite lintels over each portal, elaborate decorations…often crumbling with neglect.  You add the bitter wind of late autumn, the sound of leaves scurrying in the alley after dark and a desire to see your town come alive in a different time and…
The Gremlin in The Silver Scream came to life.
I admit to being one of the last ones to rake my leaves in the fall.  Every day when I walk out to my car, I stop and stomp through the thick blanket of russet, flaming orange, bright yellow and dessicated brown leaves.  Often I hear something rustling…out of sight.  Probably a squirrel.  But honestly, isn’t it much more fun when you think it might be a creature from another place?
I dare you!  Explore the darkness!  Read “Gremlins: An Anthology” today…and find that wide-eyed horror of youth all over again.
Visit my website!
Be my friend!
“The Silver Scream” by S.D. Grady 
Once of seven tales within “Gremlins”
Film school student, Gilda Albright, has taken a job in the newly refurbished Orpheum Theatre as a movie projectionist. The gem from another era prompts her imagination to take flight, and she invites her boyfriend Seth to a private screening. Looking like a movie star from the 50’s, she strips in the spotlight, ensnaring Seth’s lust and drawing the eager eyes of another to her buxom figure. The building takes on a life of its own—fear invades Gilda’s workdays. Will the unseen gremlin let her go or fulfill its erotic obsession with a vision from the past?
Buy your copy of “Gremlins: An Anthology” today!

Love, Sonya

Want to know more about author S. D. Grady? She’s featured author of the month at The Romance Studio: