Today I’m throwing the One Book Shy spotlight onto G. Lloyd Helm and his new book, Serpents and Doves.
TITLE:Serpents and Doves AUTHOR:G. Lloyd Helm GENRE:Literary Fiction
Stephen Mitchell did not know what he was getting into at a small church college in Tennessee. Sex, protest, friendship, and Civil rights. The title “Serpents and Doves” comes from the warning Jesus gave to his disciples as he sent them out to preach the gospel, knowing the dangers they were going into. He said “I send you out as sheep among wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Stephen Mitchell learns first-hand what that warning means when he goes to a Tennessee church college in the midst of the turbulent 60’s. He learns about friendship, war, protest, the sexual revolution, and civil rights.
Ethan’s suicide rocked the school, but not nearly as much as Stephen expected. The New Jersey and New York folks mostly didn’t know anything about Ethan or the BSU so they noted the suicide as a bit of news, but it didn’t effect them much. There was some anti-homosexual noise and the inevitable nasty jokes, but Ethan Patrick’s passing caused no more than a ripple for the most part.
There was some noise and protest from the Mason First Baptist Church when Billie Jo asked them to hold the funeral service, but finally they said they would bury him, but not in the church cemetery. They ignored the fact of his suicide and the reasons for it and held a small service. Stephen debated with himself whether he should go. He had about decided not to when Cathy Powell cornered him and asked if he would go with her. “I really don’t have the strength Steve,” she said. “I’m just a wreck. Can’t you please come with me?”
Stephen seriously thought about saying, Why don’t you go ask David Hall? But didn’t say it. “All right. I’ll meet you at the church.”
She smiled sadly, but Stephen thought he saw just the smallest glimmer of triumph in it.
The coffin was set across the aisle in front of the altar. Closed. It was silvery gray and looked more like a large tin can than a coffin. The congregation was small, mostly people from the BSU but a few from Beacon’s faculty including Dr. Conners and Dr. Marchant. Having the Pope there was no surprise. Probably here to make sure the sumbitch is really dead, Stephen thought, and then felt bad about thinking it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
G. Lloyd Helm has been writing for 40 years, having published poetry in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers including “The New York Poetry Anthology,” “Stars and Stripes News,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Antelope Valley Press,” and “The Antelope Valley Anthologies,” among others.
… Has published short stories and memoirs both in the US and in England in such journals as “Pligrimage” which published the memoir “Football” in spring 2005, and a second memoir “4 April, 1968” in the winter of 2008. He has published short stories in “Citadel” the literary magazine of Los Angeles City College,” “Delivered Magazine,” which is based in London, “Short Story Library,” The University of S. Illinois’ “Eureka Literary Magazine,” “Tales as like as not,” and London’s “Black Gate Magazine.” Recently published “Even Up” a Civil War Ghost story at www.ruthlesspeoples.com, an English on line magazine, and the short story “A Lovely Elephant” in “Delivered Magazine” an English fiction journal. “The Other Fellows Shoes,” Pulp Empire III, Metahuman Press, Cedar Rapids, IA Nov. 2010. Is being published in an on line experiment from Alfie Dog Publishing in England. May 2012.
…Has published three novels in the F&SF field, 1) OTHER DOORS, From MousePrints Publishing, and 2) DESIGN from American Star. 3) WORLD WITHOUT END from Rogue Phoenix Press, www.roguephoenixpress.comOTHER DOORS, originally published in 1997, was published electronically by Rogue Phoenix Press in July 2010. Also Published a literary Romance novel called SOMETIMES IN DREAMS, from Siren’s call. Most recently a volume of short stories called TRAIN WHEELS, FLYING SAUCERS, AND THE GHOST OF TIBURCIO VASQUEZ. Many of these stories appear on the Alfie Dog site.
…Is in process of publishing an adult literary novel called SERPENTS AND DOVES with Rogue Phoenix Press, which will be out in May 2016.
1. Do you get more enjoyment out of creating heroes or the villains?
They are about the same to me but then again my heroes aren’t always wonderfully heroic. They are very often people dumped into situations where they have to cope and sometimes the situations make them into kinda bad guys. That said, it is interesting to write a “Villain” because I get to dip into that part of me that is selfish and greedy and hungry and kinda let the evil me that I know is in there come out a little.
2. Where is your favorite place to write?
I’m a home body. I like to write in my office–as much as I like to write anywhere. I used to write in a library. My Second book was written mostly in the Library at Rhein-Main Air Force Base in Frankfurt Germany, but now it is just easier to work here at my desk. I kinda envy those folks who can carry their Lap tops into Star Bucks and work, but there is too much distraction. Besides they would probably throw me out if I came in my night shirt and slippers which is my usual writing uniform.
3. Do you have any specific “rituals” when you’re creating/writing?
Not really, that I know about any way. I may have some unconscious habit I do. I usually check my e mail and start a new date in my journal but not always. I give the laughing Buddha’s belly a rub and sometimes ring the prayer bell, but those aren’t all the time things.
4. Tell us about your favorite literary character (can be your own or other, or both!)
I got lots of them. I like Lazarus Long, and Michael Valentine, but I also like Jake from The Sun Also Rises, Always liked Travis McGee too. In my own work I like Ben Fordham, a fellow thrown into a situation not of his own making where he discovers he has certain powers–to stop war by commanding peace, for instance. That is one I wish I could do, but I can’t. Still I am working on it as much as I can.
5. What are three things you can’t be without?
Not too many things I can’t live without. Done without one way and another most of my life so I’m used to it–not that I’m a pauper or anything, but my car is a 2006 Ford–I’d say the three things I couldn’t live without would be the obvious ones. Food, water, and shelter. Been without those a couple of times in my life, but those times are pretty much passed. But on a more metaphoric plain I’d hate to do without Books, and art, and conversation. I have lived among books since I was a child. I read voraciously and omnivorously so going cold turkey without books would be pretty awful. And art. I am a habitué of museums and art galleries. One of our first dates I took my wife to Forest Lawn Cemetery because of all the fantastic sculpture and when I lived in Spain I went to the Prado in Madrid a couple of times a month. Course with art I could substitute my own scratchings, but it wouldn’t be the same. And conversation. I’m pretty easy to talk too and I have been known to just start a conversation with the person behind me in line at the grocery store. If it was a desert island I’d probably end up talking to the coconut trees and crabs probably.
6. What are you currently working on?
I have a couple of things going. Chiefly I am pulling together a movie script from my first novel, Other Doors. That’s the one with Ben Fordham in it. While at the same time I am working on a second Ben Fordham novel called The Jewel Within the Flame. Whenever I get stuck on one or the other I go to work on the other one. And of course right now I am working on blog questions which have kept me pretty busy over the last couple of weeks.
G. Lloyd Helm will be awarding 10 paperback copies of the book to 10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour (intenational giveaway).
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